(Auchans 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.

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Auchans, an estate, with a mansion, in Dundonald parish, Ayrshire. The estate belonged, for a number of ages, to the Wallaces of Dundonald; went, about 1640, to Sir William Cochrane, afterwards Earl of Dundonald; and passed, subsequently, to the Earls of Eglinton. It has considerable plantations; and it retains part of an ancient orchard, whence a famous pear, originally got from France, but known as the Auchans pear, was dispersed through much of Scotland. The mansion stands near the ruins of Dundonald Castle and near Dundonald village, 4 miles SSE of Irvine; is situated on a gentle eminence, on a grand curvature of a beautiful sylvan bank nearly 1 mile long, and generally more than 100 feet high; bears upon its walls the date 1644, but appears to have been constructed of materials taken from Dundonald Castle; and is a curious edifice, with considerable variety of outline and very picturesque features. ` Thus, ' says Billings, ` the square balustraded tower is in direct opposition to the cone-covered staircase, which breaks the monotony of the main wall-face of the mansion in its centre. But the picturesque is more particularly evinced in the arrangement of the crow-stepped gables, and especially of the one surmounting the round tower to the right. The flank wall of this gable continues the line of the house, instead of being corbelled upon the tower, which is finished by being simply sloped off to the wall, leaving as a questionable feature what has evidently been a change from the original design- ' At Auchans, in 1773, Dr Johnson and Boswell ` spent a day well' in visiting Susannah, Dowager-Countess of Eglinton, the witty beauty to whom Allan Ramsay had dedicated his Gentle Shepherd (1725), and who died here in 1780 in her ninety-first year

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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