Cessnock Castle

Located a half-mile (0.5 km) southeast of Galston (East Ayrshire), Cessnock Castle is a large three-storey U-plan house, which overlooks the Craufurdland Water. The oldest part is a massive rectangular keep, built in the 15th C. by John Campbell of Loudon, although some say it may date back to the 13th century. This was extended in the late 16th C. by the addition of an L-plan mansion. The Great Hall was created in 1630 by Sir Hew Campbell, who became Lord Justice Clerk, and it still retains its original painted ceiling. Further extensions followed: a circular stair-tower and the octagonal tower were added, and the third arm was completed by 1675. By the 19th century the house had deteriorated, but it was restored and reconstructed by the Duke of Portland between 1890 and 1900. It came back into the Campbell of Loudon family (Baron de Fresnes) in 1946. It was divided and the ground floor sold off as a self-contained property in 1981. The castle remains a private residence.

Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87) visited after her defeat at the Battle of Langside. The castle was also visited by Protestant reformers John Knox (c.1513-72), whose ghost still appears, and George Wishart (1513-46), together with poet Robert Burns (1759-96).

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