Castle of Park

Castle of Park
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Castle of Park

A large but plain tower-house located on a little plateau to the west of the Water of Luce in SW Dumfries and Galloway, the Castle of Park overlooks Luce Bay, a half-mile (1 km) west southwest of Glenluce. The former Portpatrick Railway runs immediately to the north. This harled L-plan tower comprises a main block of four storeys and a garret, with a small wing to the SE containing the stair rising one storey higher, topped by a small room forming a cap-house. The steeply-pitched slated roof features crow-stepped gables. The architraved entrance lies in the re-entrant angle and above is an inscription, commemorating the builder of the property Thomas Hay, son of the last abbot of Glenluce Abbey, and his wife Janet MacDowel. It also records the date on which building commenced, the 1st March 1590. Beyond the entrance are three tunnel-vaulted rooms, including the old kitchen with large segmental-arched fireplace and a wine cellar. On the first floor is the hall, 9.1m (30 feet) in length and featuring a fine moulded fireplace. There are bedrooms above, directly connected to the hall by a small private stair-case, and featuring stone window seats, garderobes and fine painted wood ceilings by Jennifer Packer (1992-3). The third floor has further bedrooms, including another garderobe and privy. The windows are notable through their diversity of sizes; representing different periods in the history of the castle, barely two the same, from small slits to rather larger 12-pane sash and case units.

A pair of square two-storey piend-roofed wings which were added to the property in the 18th century were demolished in 1951. The Castle of Park was acquired by the Cunningham family in 1830, but soon abandoned and by the late 19th century was used for farm labourers. The tower was restored by the Ministry of Public Works in 1965-68, with further work undertaken in the 1970s by the Scottish Development Department and in the 1980s by its successor agency, Historic Scotland. The castle was leased to the Landmark Trust in 1990, who made the property habitable (1992-93). It is now leased as holiday accommodation.

The area around the castle was originally laid out as gardens; traces of a walled garden still exist to the south, while to the east a gateway in a stone wall probably led into another garden.

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