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Penkill Castle

Penkill Castle is a much-extended tower house situated on steeply sloping ground to the east of Penwhapple Glen, a half-mile (0.9 km) southeast of Old Dailly and 3 miles (5 km) east northeast of Girvan in South Ayrshire. Now A-listed, it was built in the 16th C. by the Boyds and comprised three storeys and a garret. This was extended in 1628 with north-facing wing and a round stair-tower that was built in the angle between the new wing and the old tower. In 1750, the property was inherited by relatives who lived in the USA and was abandoned. A later descendant married the daughter of a wealthy English industrialist who paid for the rebuilding of the now-ruined castle in the 1850s. The architect was the little-known Alexander George Thomson of Glasgow, who restored the tower house and rebuilt both the N wing and stair tower. More notable was the later work of Pre-Raphaelite artist William Bell Scott (1811-90), who was an intimate friend of the owner, Alice Boyd, and was eventually to die in the castle. He spent several years painting extensive murals and other decorative works, then went on to design a single-storey hall which was built 1883-85 to the east. He also introduced notable members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle, such as Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who stayed here and gifted items including furniture. Unfortunately, many of these artefacts were sold or removed in the 1970s and the castle was deteriorating once again. It was saved by Dr. Elton August (Al) Eckstrand, an American lawyer and former drag-racing driver who undertook a restoration and bought back some of the fittings. Having passed through various hands, Penkill remains a private residence, appearing with its owner in the Channel-4 series Come Dine with Me in 2011.


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