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Kelburn Castle

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Kelburne Castle, a seat of the Earl of Glasgow in Largs parish, Ayrshire, within ½ mile of the Firth of Clyde, 1J mile N by E of Fairlie, and 2 miles SSE of Largs town. Originally a square tower, it was described by Pont in the beginning of the 17th century as 'a goodly building, well planted, having very beautiful orchards and gardens;' and a hundred years later it was enlarged by David, first Earl of Glasgow. Special features of interest are a metal finial, with the crest of the Boyles surmounted by a thistle, and 'an ingeniously ornamented sun-dial, where every inch of surface is made to tell the story of time, and where its pinnacle, by a series of grooves, imitates the crocketing of Gothic architecture.' The estate came into possession of the Earl's ancestors so early as the time of Alexander III. (1249-86), and gives the title of Viscount to George Frederick Boyle, sixth Earl of Glasgow since 1703 (b. 1825; sue. 1869), who holds 36,879 acres, valued at £36,714 per annum, viz., 24,968 in Ayrshire (£18,359), 4453 in Renfrewshire (£7291), 5625 in Fife (£9085), and 1833 in Buteshire (£1979). The park contains many fine old trees; comprises much diversity of ground, with wooded braes and heights; and includes a dark, wooded glen, where Clea Burn, rising at an altitude of 1280 feet, and running 2 7/8 miles north-north-westward and westward to the Firth, forms two romantic waterfalls, the lower one 50 feet high.—Ord. Sur., sh. 21, 1870. See vol. iii. of Billings' Baronial Antiquities (1853).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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