Mauchline Castle, was built in the 1400s as a monastic residence for Melrose Abbey. Robert Burns is believed to have married Jean Armour in the castles dining room.

With the castle now being the family home of Alexander Hamilton, it is not open to the public. However, you do get rear views of the castle from the cobbled streets around the Burns House Museum.

The keep stands in the centre of Mauchline town. On minor roads between the B743 and the A76, in Castle Street.

Brief history

The castle was built for Melrose Abbey from which to manage its Ayrshire estates. After the reformation it passed to the Campbells of Loudoun, and was used as a factors house. In the 18th century Robert Burns paid his rent here, and was married in one of the extensions to the keep. The castle is still in reasonable condition.

External

The castle is an altered 15th century keep, to which has been added a 17th century L-plan wing. Other extensions and alterations were made in 1690, 1800 and 1820. The keep stands beside a stream that still flows below the projecting latrine chutes. The original ground floor door seems to have been close by the stream. A later door with external stair is situated at second floor level. There is a decorative niche above this upper door.

Internal views

The original ground floor contains two vaulted, interconnected chambers, which were entered directly. Due to ground level changes around the tower these vaults are now below ground level but above the level of the adjacent stream. A turnpike stair rises in one corner and leads to the original great hall. The hall is groin vaulted. This amazing vaulting and the ecclesiastical look of some of the window mouldings give an indication of the original builders. The turnpike stair continues up through the tower but many steps have been destroyed by vandalism. The building shows evidence of the huge stresses being exerted on the walls by the outward push of the hall vaulting. To reduce this pressure the Victorian crenellated parapet has been removed, and the stones have been stored in the basement vaults.

 

Campbell
Mauchline
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Friday, 03 May 2013 8 Print