The Montgomerys' were a powerful
Scottish clan with a 1300s castle at
Polnoon in the parish of Eaglesham, by
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 in Ayrshire.
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
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 time.
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 1528.
In 1586, the 4th Earl of Eglinton was
killed by the Cunninghams' of
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
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
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
The Estate Duty for inheriting land was
increased in 1894, also leading to a number
of estates being forced to sell off
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 estate.
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 remain unknown.
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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