The Oiselinière estate was, before the French Revolution a 'Seigniory'. It is mentioned as early as 1335 in the charter 'Les Actes'. It spreads over the districts of Gorges and Clisson, and under the feudal system depended on the Seigneurs of Clisson and Pallet. For 643 years, this Seigniory only changed families four times: Maurice le Meigen was the owner, then in 1460 one of this descendants through allegiance, Claude Grézeau took over. His family sold the seigniory of the Oiselinière to Jean Goulet de la Fosse de Nantes in 1613. Louis de la Bourdonnaye acquired the property in 1658. Then in 1767, the seigniory was sold to the ancestors of the Aulanier family (This family made a great contribution in the Second World War, Oselinière being a hotbed of resistance).
The castle is a villa built in Italian style between 1822 and 1835 to enclose a square courtyard dated from the 17th century. The villa, the outbuildings, the orangery and the gallery of 'Les Illustres' are included in the inventory of historical monuments since 1997 and are cited as reference in the inventory 'Clisson or return to Italy.'
To the west of the villa, near the orangery stands a set of architectural interest with six niches on its main facade which are made of circular brick and adorned with busts of famous men. From left to right, we can recognize Olivier de Clisson, Conde, Duquesne, Jean Bart, and Bayard Duguesclin.
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.