Ayrshire: About 2 miles south and east of Largs, on minor road east of A78, in Kelburn Country Centre, at Kelburn Castle.
Private NS 217567 OS: 63 KA29 0BE
OPEN: Castle open: Jul-1st week in Sep, daily tour14.00. Country centre and gardens open: Early Apr-Oct, daily 10.00-18.00. Also grounds only open: winter, daily 11.00-17.00. Weddings and events.
Accommodation. Equestrian centre.
Tel: 01475 568685 Web: www.kelburnestate.com
With fine views over the Clyde and set in park land, Kelburn Castle is a tall 16th-century Z-plan tower house, to which has been added a large symmetrical mansion. Part of the building may date from the 12th or 13th century. The tower, of four storeys and rectangular in plan, has round towers projecting at two corners, making it Z-plan. One round tower contains the main stair, and rises a storey higher than the main building to be capped by a conical-roofed watch-chamber. The castle is dated 1581. The castle was extended in 1700, 1722, and again in 1879 and 1890. The estate covers some 3,500 acres.
The original entrance is now a window. The basement was vaulted and contained the old kitchen. The house has been much altered inside, and contains fine 18th-century interior work.
The Boyles held the lands of Kelburn from the 12th or 13th century, and fought at the Battles of Largs in 1266 and Bannockburn in 1314. John Boyle of Kelburn, a supporter of James III, was killed at the Battle of Sauchieburn in 1488, and the family were forfeited, although they recovered the property. Another of the family was killed at Pinkie in 1547 and the family supported Mary, Queen of Scots. David Boyle of Kelburn was made Lord Boyle in 1699, and then Earl of Glasgow and Viscount Kelburn in 1703, as a reward for helping persuade reluctant Jacobites to agree to the Act of Union. The Boyles supported the government during the Jacobite Risings. David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow, was Governor of New Zealand from 1892-97.
The family still occupy the castle, making Kelburn one of the oldest houses continuously occupied by the same family.
The grounds are open to the public as a Country Centre, established in 1977. There are walled gardens, containing rare shrubs and trees, as well as many unique historical and natural features.
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