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Young Lochinvar & Fair Ellen
Young Lochinvar & Fair Ellen
(Courtesy of the Young Lochinvar Hotel)

Kenmure Castle
New Galloway




[The Story of Young Lochinvar]
[William Gordon of Kenmure, Laird of Lochinvar]

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A Visit To Kenmure Castle

The Historical Background ...

The real 'Young Lochinvar' was said to be the Laird of Lochinvar, William de Gordon of Kenmure. A descendant, Robert Gordon of Muirfad, was buried in Glenluce Abbey after his death on 26th April 1548; the illegible gravestone is wrongly attributed to a Robert Gordon of Lochinvar.

The seat of the Laird (Baron) of Lochinvar was not at Lochinvar itself - this may have been grazing land with a herdsman's bothy - but at Kenmure Castle near New Galloway. The castle site was occupied by a succession of buildings from late in the 11th Century until 1900. Sadly, the lairdship was declared dormant in 1847, the McEwan family then owning the estate. The contents of Kenmure Castle were sold on the American market, in 1900. The Castle was later de-roofed to avoid paying 'roof tax' and has been deteriorating ever since.

The Castle Today ...

WARNING : DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ENTER THE CASTLE BUILDING.
IT IS EXTREMELY UNSAFE AND YOU MAY BE KILLED BY FALLING MASONRY
OR BY FALLING INTO HIDDEN VOIDS.
ONLY VIEW THE CASTLE FROM THE OUTSIDE.

The ruins of Kenmure Castle (at UK National Grid Reference NS 635765, O.S. Map 77, 1:50,000) stand amongst trees on a wooded hillock about a mile south of New Galloway. The hillock's sides appear to have been dug away to steepen them, producing a D-shape mound about forty feet above local ground level. There are the remains of a parapet-wall, much damaged, and of two distinct shelves, on the upper of which the ruins stand. The position would have been naturally suitable for a motte-and-bailey fortress of the mid-1000s, later offering good foundations and a commanding position for several rebuildings in stone.

The writer visited the site on Tuesday 4th July 2000, parking in the now-gated former entrance and going down a green lane (the carriageway) for two hundred yards. On turning a corner, the motte came into view, the strength and elaboration of the building being manifest.

On the west side (the flat face of the 'D') the remains of the curtain wall are still apparent, the ruins of the house standing above for some fifty feet. Below the west side there is a track into an adjacent field. However, between that track and the main road are the two terraces and large central area of what may have been a formal garden.

The track taken to reach the castle spirals around and up the rounded face of the D-shaped hillock, reaching its top at the south-west corner of the castle. For the impatient, there is a stone staircase from near the centre curve of the 'D' up onto the lower of the two shelves, which may have been the bailey of the original fortress, later a garden. A large patch of nettles and some fine Elder trees show the presence of human occupation in the nitrates and phosphates fertilising them.

The long face and bottom (south face) of the 'D' are dominated by the big L-shaped house, with a fine spiral staircase housing inside the angle of the L. Through the doors and windows the collapsed remains of the staircases and floors can be seen. Above the main door and the door to the staircase, there are two much-worn coats of arms. Within the building, a mixture of stonework and late nineteenth century brickwork can be seen. On proceeding clockwise around the building, one may see that the building is in fact two wings from the remains of a rather fine tower-house of 15th or 16th century date. The main or west wing may in fact be an old manor-house of an earlier date, as much stonework has been revealed by the loss of the plaster.

One leaves the castle by returning round the long side of the castle to the stairway down to the track.

It is regretted that no kind of information board or other guidance is present, but the building would have to be made safe for general visiting. Restoration would probably cost millions of Pounds.

Pictures will be added once ready.

- Richard Edkins, 5th July 2000, webmaster@albeattie.com

WARNING : DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ENTER THE CASTLE BUILDING.
IT IS EXTREMELY UNSAFE AND YOU MAY BE KILLED BY FALLING MASONRY
OR BY FALLING INTO HIDDEN VOIDS.
ONLY VIEW THE CASTLE FROM THE OUTSIDE.

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Young Lochinvar website built by Dalbeattie Internet.
Added to Dalbeattie Domain Server on 3rd July 2000.
last updated 23rd May 2004.


Counter added
3rd July 2000.