Dean Castle was the home of the Boyds, Lords of Kilmarnock. They were given their lands by King Rober I (The Bruce) in 1316, and lived there till the castle was destroyed in an accidental fire in 1735. Not long after, the estate was sold by the Boyds and had various owners till it passed to Lord Howard de Walden in 1828. The ruined castle was restored by the 8th Lord Howard de Walden between 1908 and 1936, and presented to the people of Kilmarnock by his son in 1975.
The high keep which stands on it’s own was built first – about 1350. This was for defence, with walls 2-3 metres thick, few windows, and the original main entrance high above the ground. There are no arrowlits in the walls, all the shooting was done from the top.
The other part of the castle is mall palace built by Robert Boyd, about 1460, together with the attached tower and the wall surrounding the courtyard. The gatehouse and the roofed walk round the top of the courtyard wall are modern, otherwise the buildings are authentic and give a fair idea of the original appearance of a typical Scottish Castle.
Clan Connections with Dean Castle
Photos from our visit to Dean Castle