Castle Kennedy is an impressive ruinous tower house, set in beautiful gardens, once home to the Kennedy family, near Stranraer in Galloway in southwest Scotland.
Galloway: About 3 miles east of Stranraer, on minor roads north of A75, between White Loch and Black Loch, 0.5 miles north of Castle Kennedy village, at Castle Kennedy.
Ruin or site NX 111609 OS: 82 DG9 8BX
OPEN: Lochinch Castle not open to the public; gardens, tea room and shop open Apr-Sep, daily 10.00-17.00; Feb-Mar, Sat & Sun only, 10.00-17.00. Weddings.
Tel: 01776 702024 Web: www.castlekennedygardens.co.uk
Colour photos by © Tom Wolf (www.tom-wolf.com)
Set among gardens and originally on an island in a loch, Castle Kennedy is a ruinous 17th-century E-plan tower house, perhaps incorporating older work. It consists of a main block of four storeys and an attic, with two projecting square wings of five storeys and two square towers of seven storeys in the re-entrant angles, one containing the main turnpike stair. Three-storey wings were added later. The walls are pierced with large, evenly spaced windows and shot-holes.
The main entrance leads to a vaulted passage, running through the entire basement. There is a large vaulted kitchen, and the basement rooms in the square wings and towers are also vaulted.
This was a property of the Kennedys from 1482. The existing castle was started in 1607 by John Kennedy, 5th Earl of Cassillis, and replaced an older stronghold, on Inch Crindil in White Loch [NX 104608]. The property passed about 1650 to the Hamiltons of Bargany, then around 1677 to the Dalrymples of Stair, who still own it.
A fire gutted the castle in 1716, and it was never restored. The family moved to Carscreugh, but then back to Lochinch Castle [NX 106618] at the end of the 17th century. Lochinch stands about 0.5 miles to the north of Castle Kennedy, and the present mansion dates from 1864-7. It is a large, even graceful, baronial mansion, with a flourish of turrets, spires, chimneys, battlements and crowsteps.
The 75 acres of gardens were laid out between two lochs, originally in 1730, with impressive terraces and avenues around a large lily pond. There is also a walled garden.
Castle Kennedy was one of the locations used for the 1973 movie The Wickerman.