Mauchline Castle

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Mauchline Castle
Mauchline Castle, engraved by Francis Grose in 1790

Mauchline Castle, also known as Abbot Hunter's Tower,[1] is a rectangular tower house dating from the fifteenth century, in Mauchline, East Ayrshire, Scotland.[2] The tower once formed part of a group of monastic buildings associated with Melrose Abbey, and today is a category A listed building.[3]


Before 1177 the monks of Melrose Abbey held lands in Ayrshire, approximately represented by the extent of Mauchline parish.[1] The castle was constructed in about 1450 as part of a grange, a farming estate belonging to a monastery. The arms of Abbot Andrew Hunter (c.1444-71) on a boss in the vaulting of the first-floor hall give the earliest dating of the Castle.[2] Huw Campbell of Loudoun was appointed Bailie of Barony in 1521, gaining the temporal lordship in 1606.[2] The square-headed windows may have been inserted at this time.[1] During the following two centuries, houses were built next to the castle, and in the 18th century Gavin Hamilton, lawyer and friend of Robert Burns, lived here as a tenant of Lord Loudoun[2] Burns is said to have written the parody sermon The Calf, and to have married Jean Armour, in the castle.[4] Although repaired in the 19th century, it was described as being "in a state of decay" in 1980.[1]


The tower is built of red ashlar, and measures 10 by 9 metres (33 by 30 ft), with the walls being 5 feet (1.5 m) thick.[2][1] The entrance is to the south, at ground level, with a statue niche above and a turnpike stair to its left. There are four main storeys, and an attic with crowstep gables. The hall, on the first floor, is rib-vaulted in two bays, and has stone seats in the windows. It is over a vaulted basement comprising two poorly lit chambers. There is an unusual double garderobe chute at the north gable.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Mauchline Castle". Canmore. Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Lindsay, Maurice (1986) The Castles of Scotland. Constable. ISBN 0-09-473430-5 p.39
  3. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Mauchline Castle (Abbot Hunter's Tower), Mauchline (LB14471)". Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Mauchline Castle". Future Museum South West Scotland. Retrieved 20 March 2017.

Coordinates: 55°30′57″N 4°22′51″W / 55.51591°N 4.38073°W / 55.51591; -4.38073