Ayrshire History

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Killochan Castle

Since a drawing of Killochan Castle adorns the Home Page (and appears again below), it seemed reasonable to include a little of its history.  The following is taken from "Places of Interest about Girvan", by R. Lawson, published in 1892.

Killochan Castle stands on the banks of the Girvan, about three miles from the town.  It is a tall tower, with a spiral staircase at one corner, from which all the apartments enter.  Over the door is inscribed the words:- "This work was begun the 1 of Marche 1586 be Johne Cathcart of Carlton and Helene Wallace his spous"; and then follows the pious reminder - "The name of the Lord is ane strang tour and the rychteous in thair troublis rinnis unto it and findeth refuge."  Not far from the Castle, in the middle of a field sloping down to the Girvan, stands a huge boulder of grey granite, about 37 tons in weight, and 13 yards in circumference, called the "Baron's Stone."  Geikie, the Geologist, wrote an article on it, sketching its history, telling how it once formed part of a cliff, 2000 feet over its present site, far away among the hills of Loch Doon, and was borne hither on a field of ice, after having travelled a distance of at least 18 miles.  In historical times, it formed the "Hill of Justice" of the barons of Killochan, where they mustered their men, planned their raids, shared their booty, and hanged their refractory prisoners.

Killochan belongs to a family of great antiquity in the district - the Cathcarts.  So far back do their records extend, that I have seen a copy of one of their charters which was granted by Edward Bruce, King of Ireland, about the year 1317, and confirmed by his brother, the great King Robert, seven years after.  In this charter, the land is held on condition of the Baron furnishing to the King "three sufficient spears on Christmas day at our head manor of Turnberry"; and that this was  no empty claim is shown by the fact that Robert Cathcart of Killochan was one of the nobles who fell at Flodden in 1513.  In the faction feuds of the district, the Killochan family, as might have been expected, sided with the Bargany Kennedys; and in the fray near Maybole, where the Laird of Bargany was killed, the young Laird of Carleton led the second detachment of Bargany's forces.

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