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Portencross Castle, Ayrshire & Arran

Location: Portencross, KA23 9QA (map and directions)

Portencross Castle is located on the west coast of Scotland in Portencross, 2 miles from West Kilbride. The three-storey, red sandstone structure dates to the 14th century, its tower occupying the site of an old Roman fort on land which extends out into the Firth of Clyde.

Portencross Castle, Ayrshire & Arran copyright Anne Burgess
Portencross Castle © Anne Burgess

History of Portencross Castle

Until the 14th century, Portencross Castle originally stood on Auld Hill and was called ĎArneilí. Here, the first two Stewart kings signed several Royal charters, a fact which reveals that this may have been a royal residence. It is believed that the castle was a final mainland resting place for Scottish kings until the bodies were sent across the firth to Iona, their place of burial.

The castle was then rebuilt on the rocky edge of the shore, belonging to the Ross family, passing hands to the Boyd family, who owned the property until 1785, when ownership changed hands again to the Fullertons.

Portencross Castle saw royalty pass through its doors, as Robert II and Robert III both stayed at this location Ė Robert IIís visit was particularly significant as he passed through in 1371 en route from Rothesay Castle to his coronation at Scone. He also signed several Royal Charters here in the new location of the castle. From riches to rags, Portencross was also used to house French prisoners of war in the 18th century, until losing its roof in a storm in 1739.

Map and directions

Currently this ruined castle is in very good condition, and is privately owned and closed to the public.




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