Portencross Castle

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Portencross Castle is 1 mile north of Seamill on the Ayrshire coast, popular for Visits and for Walks along the Coast where there are often Birds of Prey nesting on the Cliffs. Postcode: KA23 9QA

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Portencross Castle was built from the early 1300s for Sir Robert Boyd of Kilmarnock. Boyd's had fought for King Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, with the King awarding the Boyd's a number of Estates in Ayrshire.

The Boyd's main Castle was at the north side of Kilmarnock, named Dean Castle with a Palace, can be visited free of charge.

Law Castle, 3 miles inland at West Kilbride, was built for Thomas Boyd and his wife Princess Mary in 1476. King James III had that Castle built as a wedding gift to his sister.

The Boyd's used Portencross Castle and its small Harbour for trading and traveling to the Islands, with the Isle of Cumbrae about 4 miles northwest, and Isle of Arran 14 miles west.

Portencross Castle History

1000s - the lands of Portencross were held by the de Ross family, with an early Castle in the area known as Arneil.

1314 - the Lands of Portencross were awarded to the Boyd's for their support at the Battle of Bannockburn, with the Portencross Castle seen today built from that time.

It is unclear why the Lands were taken from the de Ross, as the Ross Clan also fought with The Bruce at Bannockburn.

The de Ross in the area then seemed to have their main seat at Montgreenan Estate, 14 miles west by Kilwinning. That estate had an early Castle that was replaced by a Mansion in 1817.

1476 - Law Castle was built for Thomas Boyd and his wife Princess Mary 3 miles east of Portencross. Their marriage into Royalty ended in disaster, as they were soon accused of trying to gain the Scottish throne. See Dean Castle for more information.

1588 - a Ship from the Spanish Armada sunk off Portencross.

1660s - the Boyd's of Portencross moved to a Mansion House in the area.

1700s - Portencross Village was mainly made up of fishermen and farm workers.

1735 - Dean Castle fell into to ruin after being damaged by fire.

1737 - the Boyd's gave up control of Portencross Castle, with local fishermen then using the Castle. There were around 30 fishing boats at Portencross around that time.

1739 - Portencross Castle was unroofed during a storm, leading to it falling into ruin.

1740 - Divers retrieve Brass Cannon from the Spanish Armada Shipwreck at Portencross.

1946 - Dean Castle had been completely restored to serve as a tourist attraction.

1980 - the last of the fishermen retired at Portencross.

1995 - Portencross Castle was designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

2004 - Portencross Castle was featured in the BBC program Restoration as a local community group tried to raise funds to have it restored.

2005 - Law Castle was restored to serve as a Holiday Castle.

2009 - Friends of Portencross Castle began the restoration of Portencross Castle to serve as a Tourist Attraction.

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Portencross Castle Photos