Castles in Renfrewshire
Auchenbathie Tower (Barcraigs Tower)
A ruined fortification, a tower house, once held by the Wallace Clan of Elderslie, situated in Renfrewshire, Parish of Lochwinnoch, Scotland. The spelling used varies greatly and “Auchenbathie” will be used here as the standard spelling.
The pronunciation locally is “Auchenbothy”, the same as a Victorian mansion in Kilmacolm; no connection is known.
Barr Castle was built by the Lockharts. The Lockharts was a family of ancient standing and the first record of the family is in the old ragman roll (1297) which tells us of Malcolm Lockhart del conte de air, possibly the progenitor (Ancestor) of the Lockharts of Barr.
The Lockharts had considerable ramifications (Having many branches) in Ayrshire during the 16th and 17th Centuries and they were amongst the leading Citizens, being merchants of no small enterprise in the Burgh of Ayr.
The House of Blackhall is the oldest remaining dwelling in Paisley; it is situated in the suburb of Blackhall, one mile south east of Paisley Abbey. The house was inherited by Walter Fitzalan’s direct descendent Walter Stewart, the 6th Baron Renfrew, who married Marjory, the daughter of Robert the Bruce: their son became the first of the Stewart kings, King Robert II, and the Barony of Blackhall continued to be passed down through the Royal Stewart family.
Blackhall was inhabited and used until around 1840, at which time the family had already moved to Ardgowan House at Inverkip. The house was given to Paisley Town Council by the 23rd Baron, Sir Michael Hugh, in 1936, desiring that the ancient place be held in trust for the people of Paisley. In 1978 the local council considered demolition, causing public outcry; the house returned into private ownership in 1982 after restoration using funds from the Paisley Common Good Fund and from the Dalrymple Fund. It comprises today a great hall, dining room, four bedrooms and a stone spiral staircase, with elements of the current building going back probably to the 14th century.
The House of Blackhall stands no longer in the Forest of Paisley, nor in rich meadowlands, but is situated behind its walled gardens off the Lonend road, south of the Paisley Hammills, in an area uniting the city’s past and prese
Belltrees Peel is a medieval tower situated on a peninsula in Castle Semple Loch in Renfrewshire, Scotland, on which was once an island. It was constructed between 1547 and 1572 as an unusual, low tower, with an irregular hexagonal plan.
It was a Semple property, and was occupied by Sir James Semple of Belltrees. He was educated with James VI, an acted as Ambassador to France in 1601. The Semples later used the Belltrees Peel as a shelter when sailing on Castle Semple Loch.
Castle Semple (previously Castletoun)
A former mansion house located in Renfrewshire, Scotland. It is situated near the eastern end of Castle Semple Loch, within Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park. Erected, or more probably rebuilt, by John Sempill, 1st Lord Sempill, he changed its name from Castletoun to Castle-Semple.
The estate was sold by Hugh Sempill, 12th Lord Sempill, in 1727, to Colonel William M’Dowall (d. 1748), a younger son of M’Dowall of Garthland. In 1735, M’Dowall demolished the house and erected a new one on its site. The new Castle Semple was an elaborate gothick mansion which became renowned for its extensive gardens which formed the centrepiece of the 900 acres (360 ha) estate. In 1818, M’Dowall sold Castle-Semple to John Harvey, Esquire, of Jamaica. Some workmen repairing drains in 1830 found part of the foundations of the castle still existing below ground.
It burned down in 1924 and the ruins were finally demolished in 1960. The billiard room and stables wing have been re-roofed and are used as farm buildings. Impressive gate-arches and a small temple folly on a knoll to the northern end of the loch are all that remains of the estate
Cochrane Castle is in the parish of Paisley. Can not find any information on this castle
The first Castle was probably built by Robert de Croc, apparently a scion of a Norman family, who was proprietor of the estate about 1190, and whose name survives in a corrupted form as “Crookstoun.” In 1330 the estate was purchased by Sir Alan Stewart, a kinsman of the Stuarts, Seigneurs of D’Aubigny, famous in the history of France and Scotland. Sir Alan, in 1361, granted the Castle and estate to Sir 3. Stewart of Darnley; and thus they ultimately came into the possession of Henry, Lord Daruley (1546—67), centuries afterwards.
The remains of the present Castle probably belong to the 13th century (1290—1390), though the exterior arrangements plainly indicate that there was a Keep of some kind here long before that date, though the ruthless hand of Time has cleared all the relics away. But in 1488, when James IV. was fighting for the Crown after his father, James III., had been killed at Sauchieburn, he attacked his opponent, the Earl of Lennox, grandfather of Darnley, at Duchal, and besieged Crookston Castle, bringing ” Mons Meg” from Edinburgh for the purpose. Surely this shows that even at that time the Castle was of considerable importance..
The ruined building was purchased in 1757 by the Maxwells of Pollok and in 1931 Sir John Stirling Maxwell (1866-1956) presented it to the National Trust for Scotland.
Also known as Green Water and Blacketty Water. Duchal Castle is located 5km south-west of Kilmacolm on the western side of Strathgryffe. The castle itself sits on a promontory 110m north of the confluence of the Green Water and the Blacketty Water which flow down the north-east and south-west sides of the castle respectively.
A charter of Paisley in 1243 mentions a “Radulphus de Insula” founder of the family of Lyle in whose possession the castle remained until 1544. The name “lnsula” may have some relation to the peninsula on which Duchal castle stands.
“From the 13th century the estate, with a castle…belonged to the Lyles, the seventh of whose line was created a Lord about 1446. The fourth and last Lord sold it a century later to John Porterfield of Porterfield whose descendants held it for fully 300 years.” (Groome 1885 P.380)
“Part of it was demolished by the family (the Porterfields) when they reared a summer house, and in an upper apartment was found a great quantity of human bones”. (Sinclair 1791-1799 P.780)
Duchal House is an 18th-century mansion and estate near Kilmacolm, Scotland. It is located in Inverclyde, in the former county of Renfrewshire. Duchal was acquired by the Porterfield family in the 16th century. The present house was built in 1710 and extended in 1768. It is now owned by Lord Maclay. The house is protected as a category A listed building, and the grounds are included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland, the national listing of significant gardens.
The lands of Duchal were held by the Lyle family from the 13th century, based at Duchal Castle, now a ruin. In 1544 Duchal was acquired by John Porterfield, and in 1710 his descendant Alexander Porterfield constructed a new house. This building now forms the south range of the present house. Formal gardens had been laid out by around 1750. The house was extended eastward by Boyd Porterfield in 1768.
In 1854 the estate was acquired by the Shaw-Stewarts of Ardgowan for use as a shooting lodge. Duchal was sold in 1910, and in 1915 was purchased by the shipowner Joseph Paton Maclay, 1st Baron Maclay, whose family still occupy the house
Erskine Castle is in the parish of Erskine. Nothing exists.
Can not find any information on this castle
Finlaystone House is a mansion and estate in the civil parish of Kilmacolm in the Inverclyde council area and historic county of Renfrewshire.
Finlaystone was a property of the Dennistoun family, and passed to the Cunninghams in the 15th century. It was the seat of the Earl of Glencairn until 1796, and is now the property of the Chief of Clan MacMillan.
Nothing is known about the original castle.
The modern Gryffe Castle is a square mansion, built about 1854 by Robert Freeland of Broomward. It is now the property of Glasgow Corporation, and used as a children’s home. The name “Gryffe Castle” first appears on record in 1474, but there are now no traces of any ancient structure, though the mansion occupies a natural eminence which would have made a good site for an early castle, possibly a motte.
Hawkhead (Halkhead) estate was originally owned by the Stewarts and acquired in 1367 from the future King Robert lI, then Earl of Strathern by Sir John Ross for an annual payment of a pair of gloves, or two pennies of silver, to the King.
Can’t find any information on Hawkhead Castle
A 16th-century castle, the village of Houston is built around. The castle is now incorporated into the modern 19th century building of Houston House.
The castle dates back to the time of Hugh of Pettinain and remained in the possession of his family who later became the Houstons of Houston. The Castle stayed in the ownership of the family until 1740 when it was purchased by Glasgowtobacco lord Alexander Speirs of Elderslie. Following ownership by five generations of the Speirs family, Houston House passed to Major David Crichton Maitland in 1959 and then to his son Mark Crichton Maitland in 1995 before being divided into a number of flats.
With this 18th-century change in ownership of the land therefore, the ‘old village’ was cleared from around the castle by the laird. The new village of some thirty five cottages constructed to the west in 1781 from the stone of the Castle, which was later to evolve into a country house.
The original castle at Renfrew was built in the 12th century by Walter Fitz-Alan, High Steward of Scotland, on the King’s Inch. It was mainly built of wood with stone foundations, and was replaced, in the 13th century by the castle. In the latter half of the 15th century, Sir John Ross (died about 1474) was granted the lands of Inch with the ruins of this castle, upon which he built a three-storeyed castle known as the Inch Castle. The last Ross to occupy this castle died there in 1732. In 1760, the King’s Inch was purchased by Mr Andrew Spiers of Elderslie. Dunn states that he built another castle there, which he had demolished a few years later. Other authorities imply that it was the Ross’s castle (which may simply have been repaired by Speirs) which was demolished when he had Elderslie House built a short distance N, in 1777. Elderslie House was itself demolished in 1924.
Inchinnan Castle (The Palace of Inchinnan)
Nothing remains of The Palace of Inchinnan. Now the building of Garnieland farm. In 1857 local are recorded as saying this was the location of The Palace of Inchinnan. The wall immediately south of the site is chiefly built of stones taken from the ruins. The Palace was a manor house he manor house is thought to have been built in 1506 by Matthew, Earl of Lennox. On this spot it is thought there was an older manor house of the Stewarts (who held the lands in the 12th century) and was superseded by the ‘palace’ of the Darnleys. Much of it was still standing in 1710, but it had been completely removed by the end of the 18th century.
Only the central tower of the original structure remains on the site.
The castle, or mansion, was originally known as the House of Easter Cochrane, but was renamed Johnstone Castle when George Houston took over the estate in 1733. Building on the site first began c. 1645 when Sir Loudovic Houstoun moved from the estate of Houston to the Lands of Johnstone. In both 1771 and 1812 the castle was considerably extended, with the latter development being attributed to the architect James Gillespie Graham. This later work effectively left the original building largely hidden by a new castellated façade.
In 1848, the castle is said to have accommodated its most famous visitor, the composer Chopin, reputed to have stayed there for a month, during which he performed at the Merchants Hall in Glasgow on September 27, during a tour of Scotland.
As the surrounding town gradually expanded, the estate lands were slowly sold off, and the last laird of Johnstone died in 1931.
Now only the central tower exists.
Ranfurly or Ranforlie Castle
Ranfurly Castle, n the parish of Kilbarchan was constructed in the 15th century and was the seat of the Knox family who, in the 19th century, took the title of Earl of Ranfurly in the Peerage of Ireland. Ancestors of John Knox.
Now just a ruin it is situated 1½ mile N. of Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire.
Renfrew Castle was a castle situated near junction of the River Clyde and White Cart upon the former river islet, known as the King’s Inch, at Renfrew, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Once considered a royal castle nothing remains of the castle above ground.
A castle was built in the 12th century by Walter fitz Alan, High Steward of Scotland out of wood with stone foundations after being granted lands by King David I of Scotland. The strategic location of this castle was to prevent the eastern expanison of Somerled’s lordship and from Norse invaders.
Rebuilt and extended in the 13th century by James Stewart, High Steward of Scotland, it was the chief residence of Clan Stewart. It was captured by the English during the Wars of Scottish Independence and King Edward I of England gave a charter to Renfrew to Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln in 1301. After the death of Edward I, and sometime after the succession of King Edward II of England, the castle and burgh was sacked after he spent one night at the castle in 1310. Renfrew was then given in a charter by King Edward Balliol of Scotland to David de Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl in 1332. The Stewarts with the help of Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow later recaptured Renfrew Castle.
King Robert III of Scotland through to King James III of Scotland resided at the castle for a period of time. The castle seems to have fallen into decay and was converted into a soap works before being demolished in the 19th century.
Stanely Castle is located in the waters of Stanely Reservoir, to the south of Paisley, Scotland, at the foot of the Gleniffer Braes. It was probably built in the early 15th century, on an island within a marsh. The castle is now a ruin.
Stanely was the ancient seat of the Danzielstons. In the early 15th century the estate passed to the Maxwells of Calderwood, who sold it on in 1629 to Lady Ross of Hawhead. In the 18th century, it passed to the Boyle Earls of Glasgow. The castle was then used as a school, but was abandoned by the early 19th century. It was sold by the 4th Earl of Glasgow to the Paisley Water Company, who built the present reservoir.