Dunure Castle

Dunure Castle

EA Phantom Dunure 15122014. Ayr, United Kingdom.Although it has been a ruin for at least three hundred years, Dunure Castle was once the main fortress of the powerful Kennedy family, the Earls of Cassilis. Today the Kennedys are much more closely associated with Culzean Castle, less than four miles down the coast, but for several centuries from the 1200s, Dunure Castle was by far the more important of the two.The castle's origins probably date back to at least the 1200s when a stone keep was built on an easily defensible rocky outcrop overlooking the Firth of Clyde. The Kennedy family prospered, with one member marrying a daughter of King Robert III while another went on to become Bishop of St Andrews and the founder of St Salvator's College.As the family prospered, so their castle expanded. New ranges of buildings were added at a lower level slightly inland, and a curtain wall was erected to surround the whole castle. The new buildings included a kitchen range and a chapel, a great hall and a prison, plus living accommodation for the family and their retainers.Dunure Castle featured as a footnote in history on a number of occasions during its active life. In 1429 a meeting took place here - presumably because it was seen to be neutral territory - between James Campbell, representing King James I of Scotland and John Mor MacDonald, representing the Lord of the Isles. Violence broke out and MacDonald was killed. James I's efforts to contain the outrage of the Lords of the Isles by executing Campbell did not prevent a subsequent uprising by them.For three days from 4 August 1563, Mary Queen of Scots stayed at Dunure Castle as the guest of Gilbert Kennedy, the 4th Earl of Cassilis. Mary made a number of progressions around her realm during her short reign, and Dunure thus joins a long list of those who would be able to display a "Mary slept here" plaque.www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk

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