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Latitude: 56.2229 / 56°13'22"N
Longitude: -5.0315 / 5°1'53"W
OS Eastings: 212150
OS Northings: 707499
OS Grid: NN121074
Mapcode National: GBR 01.CX8K
Mapcode Global: WH1JP.PV8C
Entry Name: St Catherines, St Catherines Hotel (Old Ferry Inn)
Listing Date: 11 August 2003
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 396858
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49362
Building Class: Cultural
County: Argyll and Bute
Electoral Ward: Cowal
Traditional County: Argyllshire
Mid 18th century with later alterations. 2-storey with attic, 3-bay rectangular-plan coaching inn with late 20th century ground floor extension to entire NW (principal) elevation and long, low wing. Long, rectangular-plan former stable block with incorporated 3-bay single storey cottage adjoins hotel at SW. Render with some painted stone surrounds to windows. Inn; overhanging eaves with exposed rafters, narrow plain bargeboards to gable ends. Inn and cottage; gabled dormers with bargeboards.
NW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: inn; centred door obscured by glazed extension at ground floor, 3 evenly spaced windows at 1st floor with dormers arranged above.
Cottage; advanced gabled single storey porch with central door, setback flanking ground floor windows with dormers arranged above. Former stable block; window to right of cottage, with modern brick and glazed porch with door to right return.
SW ELEVATION: advanced plain gable to former stable block with setback plain gable of inn above.
SE (REAR) ELEVATION: substantial modern flat roofed extension to ground floor of inn and cottage; various openings, plain wall to remaining part of former stable block. Central 1st floor stair window to inn with flanking windows, window to right smaller than that of left. 2 gabled dormer windows and central rooflight. Curved retaining wall set behind inn and stable block, with ground rising to SE.
NE ELEVATION: modern extension to ground floor with plain gable of inn above, date stone '1756' set under right eave of inn.
Modern timber doors. Predominantly 4-pane timber sash and case windows with horns, plate glass windows to modern extensions to inn, cottage and former stable block. Pitched grey slate roof to inn; rendered, coped gable apex stacks with raggles, circular clay cans. Pitched grey slate roof to stable block incorporating cottage.
It is reputed that there has been a hostelry on this site since 1460 however the present building dates back to the mid 18th century with later alterations. To the SE of the hotel there are fragmentary remains of a ruined chapel, founded in the mid 15th century by Duncan Campbell of Lochawe. Groome's Gazetteer records that next to the chapel was a holy well, which was frequented by pilgrims. With both buildings established during the mid 15th century the inn would have been built to provide shelter and accommodation for the pilgrims and travellers. To the NW of the hotel is the remains of an 82m stone pier built to Thomas Telford's design in 1812-1820 (RCAHMS), which possibly replaced a much smaller pier. Sometime during the early 17th century the chapel seems to have been abandoned, falling into disrepair and ruin. With the improvement of communications throughout Scotland in the 18th century the inn was rebuilt in 1756 as a coaching inn. A ferry service operated from Inveraray to St Catherines crossing Loch Fyne whereupon travellers would be able to continue the next part of their journey via roads leading to Kilmun, Lochgoilhead, Cairndow and Glencroe. This route was favoured by the Earls of Argyll as the most direct route to and from the Lowlands.
The inn's low wing may pre-date 1756 but this has not been established. The main building of the inn is similar in size and form to the mid 18th century coaching inn at nearby Cairndow (see separate listing), the only real difference being the roof. The roof of St Catherines with its overhanging eaves and bargeboards implies a19th century roof placed on an older building. Said to have suffered a fire in the 19th century, the inn may originally have had a steeper pitched roof, similar to that at Cairndow. This theory is further supported by evidence of raggles on the inner faces of the stacks which indicate remains of a steeper pitched roof. The rebuilding date of 1756 also ties in with the opening of a nearby quarry to the S of the inn. From 1751, stone quarried at St Catherines was the main source of ashlar for Inveraray Castle (see separate listing) with its distinctive light green hue. With up to fifty quarriers being employed, the inn would have been at the hub of all this activity. After this flurry of activity in the latter half of the 18th century the quarry was occasionally worked in the 19th century with no new workings after 1849 (RCAHMS). Latterly the inn has been run as a hotel, restaurant and public house and is seen by many as the focal point for the village and surrounding area. The car park to the NE of the hotel is thought to have been the paddock area where horses were grazed. The inn was unoccupied at the time fieldwork was undertaken, (2003).