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Traveller’s Tales

Francis Grose

Culzean Castle

Period:
18th Century
Description:

Captain Francis Grose was one of the first systematic recorders of architectural and archaeological remains in Britain. His six volume Antiquities of England and Wales published between 1773 and 1787, was followed by Antiquities of Scotland in two volumes published in 1789 and 1791. Robert Burns met him while he was undertaking the latter, and became a friend – writing three pieces about him including On Captain Grose’s Peregrinations through Scotland.

This is a plate from Antiquities of Scotland showing Culzean Castle.

 

This castle designed by Robert Adams is one of the best loved and most visited tourist attractions in south west Scotland.  Grose who called it 'Colaine' or 'Culzeen' Castle describes it thus: 

 "This castle stands on the coast of Carrick, in a bay to which it gives name; it is elevated on a rock eighty feet above the level of the sea, which it seems to overhang.  Here formerly stood an ancient fortalice, of which this is in some degree a part.  It was the residence of that branch of the family of the Kennedy's, which afterwards suceeded to the title of Cassilis, in the person of Thomas Kennedy, in default of issue male of the older branch.  At the bottom of the rock, under the castle, are three caves, one beyond the other, well known for the legendary tales related of them, on which account they are celebrated by Mr. Burns, the Ayrshire Poet, in his excellent poem on Hallow E'en.

In the account of Carrick the seat itself is called the Cave.  The Cave, the mansion house of Sir Archibald Kennedy, of Colaine, takes its name hence, under the outer area of this house there are three natural caves, which enter largh at the water mark, from thence they enter upward to a higher, by an easy ascent; but the entry to the third is more difficult, being both low in the entry and strait.  In the highest of them there is a spring of good water. 

The edifice here represented was erected by the present Earl, after a plan drawn by Mr. Adams in 1789.  When this view was taken it was not quite completed.

This castle is admitted here rather on account of the beauty of its situation, than for any pretence it has to antiquity, unless it may be considered as an ancient building repaired".

Source:
The Dick Institute
Digital Number:
EAPR016n
Creation Date:
1791
Copyright:
East Ayrshire Council