Ayrshire: About 2.5 miles west of Kilwinning, on minor roads south of A78 or north of A738, just north-west of Stevenston, at Kerelaw.
Ruin or site NS 269428 OS: 63 KA20 4BT
Kerelaw Castle is an altered massive ruined 13th- or 14th-century tower and courtyard, which is much overgrown. The basement was vaulted, and the building was remodelled in the 16th or 17th century.
‘Kyryaw’ is prominently marked on Blaeu’s map of Cunningham, shown as a tower in an enclosed and wooded park.
Kerelaw was a property of the Lockharts in 1191, but later passed to the Campbells of Loudoun. The castle was built by the Cunningham Earls of Glencairn (Maxwelton), but was apparently destroyed (or sacked anyway) in a feud in 1488, and then sacked by the Montgomerys of Eglinton in 1528. Eglinton Castle was burned in retaliation. William Cunningham, 9th Earl, was active as a Covenanter, and led an unsuccessful rebellion against Cromwell’s occupation in 1653. He was made Chancellor of Scotland, after the Restoration, from 1661 to 1664.
The property had been sold to the Boyds in 1609, then to the Cunninghams of Cunninghamhead, before going to the Hamiltons in the middle of the 17th century. The ruined castle was remodelled around 1830 as a garden folly for Kerelaw or Grange House, an 18th-century mansion, which has itself been demolished, when large Gothic windows were inserted.
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