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The Scottish Castles Association
Preserving the Past for the Future

Something old, something new – Rowallan Castles are a beautiful union of Scottish castle styles


Situated in rural Ayrshire near the town of Kilmaurs are two unique castles.

(Old) Rowallan Castle is a Renaissance Palace which stands upon a rocky knoll.

Rowallan plan (1)
Plan of (Old) Rowallan Castle showing the footprint of an even earlier tower to the right

Building commenced with a hall house which was later converted into a tower. This, in turn, was replaced by the unique façade which dominates the site today. This is not for defence but for show and illustrates the transition from fortress to palace.

The entrance is given emphasis by being situated between two drum towers dated 1562 which lead to a courtyard with domestic buildings arranged around two sides. A 14/15th-century tower, of two ruined storeys, occupies the remaining space.

Rowallan old
(Old) Rowallan Castle's unique 'showy' façade

Historic Scotland guardianship was rescinded to allow Rowallan Castle to be converted into a dwelling as part of a major transformation of the estate. This is to be welcomed, for now Rowallan Castle has a purpose and a secure future.

(New) Rowallan Castle is a major house in the baronial style by the Scottish architect Robert Lorimer. Built in 1901 – and despite being incomplete – it echoes the old Scots style to perfection.

Rowallan new
Rowallan Castle's new Baronial reincarnation designed by Robert Lorimer

This is the ultimate expression of the Scottish castle.


Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle.


Date posted: 07 Jun 2016Last updated: 07 Jun 2016


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