Finlaystone House

(Finlaystone Castle)

Set within a fine landscaped estate overlooking the River Clyde, on the eastern margin of Inverclyde Council Area, Finlaystone House (sometimes Finlaystone Castle) is located 1¼ miles (2 km) west northwest of Langbank. A grand mansion built c.1760 for William Cunningham, the 13th Earl of Glencairn (1734-75), the house incorporated a 15th-century castle, known as Dennistoun's Tower. The Cunningham Graham family inherited the house in 1796 when the 15th Earl of Glencairn died childless and the title became extinct. However, due to accumulated debts, the Cunningham Grahams sold the house in 1863. Finlaystone was extended and modernised 1898-1903 by architect Sir John James Burnet (1857 - 1938) for George Jardine Kidston (1835 - 1909) who had made his fortune as Chairman of the Clyde Shipping Company. For the preceding 25 years, Kitson had rented the property but was able to buy it in 1897. In 1929 it became the home of the MacMillans of MacMillan, with whom it remains.

In 1556, the Protestant reformer John Knox (c.1513-72) is said to have given his first communion in the West of Scotland under a yew tree which lay next to the old castle. The tree remains, although was moved during the rebuilding works of 1900. The poet Robert Burns (1759-96), whose patron was the James Cunningham, 14th Earl of Glencairn, scratched his name on a window pain during his visit.

Although the grounds now form the Finlaystone Country Estate, a popular local tourist attraction, the house is not open to public, although is used as a venue for weddings and other functions.

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