Culzean Castle

Culzean Castle

Culzean Castle, pronounced Calain, is situated about 13 miles south of Ayr, by the A719 road. This is the top visitor attraction in the southwest of Scotland, run by the National Trust for Scotland since 1945. The largest Kennedy castle in Ayrshire.

The main estate for the Kennedy's (Earls of Cassillis) was Cassillis Estate, about 8 miles northeast by the village of Minishant, that contains Cassillis Castle/House. The 4th Earl of Cassillis, gifted the lands of Culzean to his brother Thomas Kennedy in 1569. At that time, the lands of Culzean only contained a tower house, where the grand castle stands today.

The Union between Scotland and England in 1707, made Scotland a safer place, and the last battle on the Scottish mainland was the Battle of Cullodon Moor 16th April 1746. This safer environment, allowed landowners to start re-modeling their tower houses, into grand mansions, or castellated mansions. Robert Adam designed the new Culzean Castle for David Kennedy (10th Earl of Cassillis), that was completed in 1792. At that time, Adam was also designing the new castle of Dalquharran, 8 miles east by the village of Dailly, for Thomas Kennedy. Dalquharran was completed in 1790. There seemed to have been a competition to see who could build the grandest castle. Who won, you have to decide yourself.

Culzean castle is expensive to maintain, due to erosion with it being close to the sea. This forced the Kennedy's to hand the castle over to the National Trust for Scotland in 1945. The Kennedy's then moved back to Cassillis House, and their town house of Maybole Castle. The Kennedy's lived at Cassillis House until they sold the house and estate to Confused.com founder Kate Armstrong, in 2009.

Culzean Castle image

Culzean Castle . Large Image

In 1560, the Scottish Parliament passed an Act abolishing the Roman Catholic Church within the realm, this seeing most of the Abbey's in Scotland destroyed, and their stonework carried off for the construction of other buildings. A Commendator was appointed to each abbey at that time, to oversee the finances, and to let the monks live out their lives.

The Kennedy name was disgraced in 1570, when Gilbert Kennedy (4th Earl of Cassillis) had the Commendator of Crossraguel Abbey taken to Dunure Castle, which is situated 7 miles up the coast from Culzean. At the Kennedy stronghold of Dunure, the Commendator was roasted over a fire in an attempt to get him to sign Abbey land over to the Kennedy's, setting off a murderous feud over the following years.

The Kennedy's were descendants of the De Carrick's, who had funded the building of Crossraguel Abbey, and gifted the abbey large areas of land. The 4th Earl, no doubt, believed he was just taking back what was rightfully his.

The Commendator's brother in law, Kennedy of Bargany, from Bargany Estate, about 10 miles east, had to raise a small army to rescue the Commendator. The feud that followed, led to Kennedy of Bargany being killed in a skirmish with the 4th Earl and his men, in the area just north of Maybole, in 1601. Bargany Kennedy's funeral was said to be vast, showing just how unpopular the 4th Earl had become.

The Mures of Auchendrane estate, just across the river from Cassillis estate, relations of Kennedy of Bargany, vowed to carry on the feud in the name of Kennedy of Bargany. The Mures had a long running hatred of their neighbours, the Cassillis Kennedy's.

The Mures ambushed and killed Sir Thomas Kennedy of Culzean (uncle of the Earl of Cassillis) when he was traveling to Edinburgh, 11th May 1602 . After Mure of Auchendrane and his son were eventually found guilty of the murder of Kennedy of Culzean, they were beheaded at the Cross of Edinburgh, in July 1611.

Culzean Castle Website . Clan Kennedy Page . Ayrshire Castles .

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Castle Fountain
Culzean Fountain Large Image

Cassillis House
Cassillis House Large Image

Dalquharran Castle
Dalquharran Castle Large Image

Maybole Castle
Maybole Castle Large Image

Dunure Castle
Dunure Castle Large Image

Castle Visitor Centre
Culzean Castle Visitor Centre

Culzean Guns
Culzean Castle Guns

Culzean Beach
Culzean Castle Beach

Culzean Garden
Culzean Walled Garden

 

Castle Dining Room
Culzean Castle Dining Room

Culzean Staircase
Culzean Castle Staircase

Castle from the north
Culzean Castle from the north