The Site History

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ABOUT THE CASTLE

Rowallan Castle is an ancient castle located near Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland. The castle stands on the banks of the Carmel Water, which may at one time have run much closer to the low eminence upon which the original castle stood, justifying the old name Craig of Rowallan. 

The original castle is thought to date back into the 13th century. Rowallan was said to be the birth place of Elizabeth Mure (Muir), first wife of Robert, the High Steward, later Robert II of Scotland.

In 1513 John Mure of Rowallan was killed at the Battle of Flodden. In 1513 the Rowallan Estate took its present day form.

In about 1690 the estate was home to the Campbells of Loudoun, who held it into the 19th century. 

Rowallan Castle is a magnificent Renaissance mansion, home to the Muir family, based around a late 13th century two-storey tower house. The tower house was constructed in 1263 as a rectangular keep, measuring some 35 feet x 28 feet, with a courtyard wall abutting the west side of the tower. Rowallan's chief claim to fame is thart the earliest known lute music in Scotland was composed here.

The tower house was extended over the following century with another storey added. The castle was extended in the late 16th century, with the addition of two drum towers. In the 17th century the undercroft was enlarged and the first floor raised, while simultaneously lowering the basement floor. 

Another courtyard and gateway was added around 1661. In the early 20th century a new house was built to the north west, and the medieval castle fell into disrepair. Excavations nearby have revealed cremation burials dating to at least the Bronze Age or even earlier, suggesting that the Rowallan site has been in use for thousands of years. 

Visit the Rowallan Castle Website for more details