The Montgomerys' were a powerful Scottish
clan with a 1300s castle at Polnoon in the
parish of Eaglesham, by Glasgow.
Sir John Montgomery married the heiress of
Sir Hugh Eglinton in the late 1300s, leading
to him gaining the Barony of Eglinton and
Ardrossan, an area just north of Irvine in
Ayrshire, with the original Eglinton Castle
from the 1300s.
The Montgomerys' were awarded more lands
in Ayrshire for their support of Scottish
kings, with Skelmorlie Castle completed on
that land in 1502, Skelmorlie being situated
about 23 miles north of the lands of Eglinton
Much of the land in Ayrshire the
Montgomerys' were awarded, for their support
of Scottish Kings, was from the Cunninghams',
leading to a number of murders, on both
sides, over the following centuries.
The title Earl of Eglinton was created in
1508 for Hugh Montgomerie, 2nd Lord
Montgomerie. Hugh Montgomery was close to the
leading nobles and kings of Scotland, playing
a part in the many battles for power at the
Eglinton Castle became the main seat of
the Montogomerys' around that time.
The Earl of Eglintons' mother was
Catherine, daughter of the powerful Gilbert,
lord Kennedy of Dunure.
In 1488, the Montgomerys' burned the
Cunningham's Kerelaw Castle.
William Cunningham, 4th Earl of Glencairn,
set fire to the original Eglinton Castle in
In 1586, the 4th Earl of Eglinton was
killed by the Cunninghams' of Glencairn.
The Montgomerys' responded by murdering
members of the Cunningham clan.
William Cunningham, 9th Earl of Glencairn,
married Margaret Montgomery in the 1660s,
daughter of Alexander, 6th Earl of Eglinton,
ending the Cunningham-Montgomery feuds.
The Montgomerys' began building the new
Castle of Eglinton in 1796, creating one of
the top stately homes in Scotland, and
packing it full of the finest furniture and
The Montgomerys' held the Eglinton
Tournament of 1839, a re-enactment of
medieval jousting, with many distinguished
guests from the UK and Europe attending.
The Montgomerys' also began the Eglinton
Hunt in the late 1800s, attracting the
richest people from around the country. They
were rich, and liked to show it.
Much of these landowners wealth came from
renting out many small farms on their vast
estates. In the late 1800s, many landowners
began selling off many of the farms so they
could gain more wealth.
As the vast estates were soon reduced to a
small amount of land around the castle or
mansion, and the money for the sales had been
used, many landowners realized they no longer
had enough income from the farms left to
maintain their buildings and lifestyle.
The Estate Duty for inheriting land was
increased in 1894, also leading to a number
of estates being forced to sell off land.
Archibald Seton Montgomerie, 16th Earl of
Eglinton, was forced to abandon Eglinton
Castle in 1925. He moved to Skelmorlie
The Montgomerys' were involved in coal
mining in the Ayrshire area, and had built
Ardrossan Harbour from where to transport
A combination of businesses failing, the
cost of building and maintaining Ardrossan
Harbour, and having sold off most of their
land, seems to have lead to the Montgomerys'
no longer having enough income to maintain
the castle, and what was left of the
The Wilson's purchased the old offices and
stables at Eglinton for a meat canning
factory in 1958. That factory closed in the
1980s, the building was converted to
accommodation apartments around
James Wilson also bought Skelmorlie Castle
in the 1970s for his family home from the
18th Earl of Eglinton. Wilson sold Skelmorlie
Castle in 2007, to someone that wants to
Archibald George Montgomerie, 18th Earl of
Eglinton, born on the 27th August 1939, has
four sons and is said to now live in
Montgomery Clan and Castles
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