For exclusive Scottish tours, email or visit my website.

Skelmorlie Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland

Monday, October 12, 2009

This evening, I am posting information on Skelmorlie Castle which is positioned close to the west coast, north of Largs. This building has close links with the Montgomerys. It dates from 1502 and originally belonged to the Earls of Eglinton. Hugh the third Earl, a devout Catholic, led the Montgomery Clan is support of Mary Queen of Scots at the Battle of Langside 1568 but was defeated, taken prisoner and subsequently released in 1571.

Many original features of the Castle, e.g.stone fireplace, were discovered after a fire in the 1960s.

The Castle's superb aspect affords views of the island of Arran which, by coincidence, was awarded to the 3rd Lord Montgomery after the Battle of Sauchieburn in 1488.

This castle is a private residence and not open to the public. It can be viewed on a 'drive past' basis.


posted by Catswhiskers @ 1:27 PM  0 comments


Post a Comment

Clan Montgomery and Eglinton Castle

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Eglinton Castle is now a ruin following evacuation of the building due to financial distress in the 1920s and subsequent use of the structure for target practice by the British Army in WW2.

Here is a brief history of the aristocratic line:

Sir John Montgomerie, Tenth Earl of Eagleshame and 2nd of Eglinton and Ardrossan 1398-1429.

Sacrificed himself as a hostage to facilitate release of James I from English.

Alexander, First Lord of Montgomerie 1429-1470

Held several important positions and was created lord Montgomerie by James II in 1441.

Alexander, Second Lord Montgomerie 1470-1483

Remained loyal to Stewart dynasty in turbulent times.

Third Earl of Eglinton accompanied Mary Queen of Scots from France to Scotland in 1561. Defeated at Battle of Langside

Hugh, First Earl of Eglinton 1483-1545

Fought against James III at Sauchieburn. Rewarded by James IV with new title.

Hugh, Second Earl of Eglinton 1545-1546

Supporter of the Stewart dynasty.

Hugh, Third Earl of Eglinton 1546-1585

Supporter of Mary Queen of Scots but acknowledged James VI

Hugh, Fourth Earl of Eglinton 1585-1586

Murdered by the Cunninghames in context of long-running feud.

Hugh, Fifth Earl of Eglinton 1586-1612

Granted Barony of Kilwinning by James VI

Alexander, Sixth Earl of Eglinton 1612-1661.

Sir Alexander Seton, cousin of Fifth Earl succeeded to title. Became a Privy Councillor. Signed National Covenant.

Hugh, Seventh Earl of Eglinton 1661-1669

Lands forfeited under Cromwell's rule and imprisoned by English.

Alexander, Eighth Earl of Eglinton 1669-1701

Family lands were restored in 1660, he lived in Yorkshire and passed estate to his son.

Alexander, Ninth Earl of Eglinton 1701-1729

Controlled family lands for 53 years. Peer in London and Privy Councillor.

Alexander, Tenth Earl of Eglinton 1729-1769

Succeeded to title at age 6. Became a good custodian of family estates.

Archibald, Eleventh Earl of Eglinton 1769-1796

Succeeded to title on brother's murder. A military man, he led the 78th Regiment of Highlanders during Seven Years War 1756-1763. Became a politician on return from the military.

Hugh, Twelfth Earl of Eglinton 1796-1819

Died without a son and title passed to the Montgomeries' Coilsfield branch. Age 57 when succeeded to the title. Increased family debts via investments in industrial projects.

Archibald, Thirteenth Earl of Eglinton 1819-1861

Knight of the Thistle but spent extravagantly during early years.

Archibald, fourteenth Earl of Eglinton 1861-1892

Ailing family fortunes aggravated by collapse of the Glasgow Bank in 1878

George Arnulph, Fifteenth Earl of Eglinton 1892-1919

Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire. Unable to halt decline in family fortunes.

Archibald Seton Montgomerie.

Failing finances forced removal from Eglinton Castle which subsequently became a ruin as per video below.



posted by Catswhiskers @ 1:20 PM  0 comments


Post a Comment

Montgomery Ancestry Tour, Scotland

Monday, October 05, 2009

Today, I had great pleasure in providing a 'Montgomery' themed ancestry tour for two guests from the U.S.A.

After collection at Lochwinnoch, we drove north to view the 20 bedroom castle at Skelmorlie which dates from 1502. Historically, the castle was owned by the second Earl of Eglinton who led the Montgomery clan in support of Mary Queen of Scots in battle.

Next we drove down the coast to Largs, a pleasant seaside town, for a coffee stop. Then on to Ardrossan Harbour which was built by the Montgomerys of Eglinton Castle, a project which caused the family considerable financial distress at the time. From Ardrossan we could view the Isle of Arran which was granted to Hugh, the 3rd Lord Montgomery in the 15th century.

A next objective was Kerelaw Castle which was not easy find, being located in the midst of a social housing scheme in Stevenston. In fact, there are just ruins evident as a function of destruction by fire when the Montgomerys burnt this Cunninghame castle in 1488.

Next, we moved on to Eglinton Castle, near Irvine. This is a ruined 18th century castellated mansion located in a pleasant public park. See video for more information and views.

En route to Troon we stopped at Annick Bridge close to which Hugh Montgomery, 4th Earl, was murdered in 1586 by the Cunninghams of Colbeith and Robertland.

At Troon we enjoyed a spot of lunch at a pub close to the harbour, which was good value.

Our final destination was Polnoon Castle and Eaglesham both of which have strong Montgomery connections.

Polnnon Castle is little more than a pile of rubble in a field having been abandoned by end of the 17th century.The castle was built using proceeds of a ransom paid to Sir John Montgomerie by Sir Henry 'Hotspur' Percy after the Battle of Otterburn in 1388. See previous blog posting for more information.

The conservation village has close links with the Montgomerys dating from the late 1760s when Alexander Montgomerie, 10th Earl of Eglinton, decided to bring order to the local collection of crofts and farms. We visited the church burial ground where can be found records of many deceased Montgomerys recorded on grave-markers. There are also Montgomery place names and a Montgomery armorial stone over the (closed) Cross Keys pub.

En route to lodgings we viewed the Eaglesham Moor wind farm (largest in Europe) and photographed a herd of deer.

This is Annick Bridge close to which occurred the murder of Hugh Montgomery.

Place name at Eaglesham

Skelmorlie Castle
Marina at Ardrossan Harbour

Ruins of Kerelaw Castle, Stevenston.

Ruins of Eglinton Castle
Coat of Arms at former stables at Eglinton Castle. Inscription reads "Garde Bien" or Careful.

Ruins of Polnoon Castle near Eaglesham

Eaglesham Kirk, in the burial ground of which can be found many Montgomery grave markers.

Stag at Eaglesham


posted by Catswhiskers @ 12:02 PM  1 comments


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading about the Montgomery tour that my daughter and son in law were shown. Nice to keep track of our world travelers. Have a good day. Phyllis Montgomery Smith

October 06, 2009  

Post a Comment

Polnoon Castle,Clan Montgomery, Eaglesham, Scotland

Saturday, September 26, 2009

This morning I visited Polnoon Castle to undertake research in context of an upcoming Clan Montgomery Tour.

This castle does not feature on many maps or reference sources. It can be accessed via permission of Polnoon Farm, G76 OPE which is mile or so south of Eaglesham and is situated about 100 yds/metres from the road across a field which is obviously used to house cattle, i.e. terrain is fairly rough.

In essence what remains is a conical mound, possibly natural, on and around which are tumbled blocks of masonry with one such block having found its way into the river below (see image).

Location makes sense in that the castle was built on a high natural elevation surrounded on one side by the local river, the Polnoon Water (a sort of natural moat-and water source) and close to a water mill which in its day would have been an important economic resource.

Research suggests that the castle was built in the late 14th century, possibly on the site of an earlier castle, by Sir John Montgomery financed by a ransom paid by Sir Henry 'Hotspur' Percy who was captured at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388. The castle was refurbished in 1617 but in ruins by 1676 and abandoned by end of that century. Apparently no formal excavation of the site has been undertaken.

The chaotic nature of the site may be attributed to locals using the castle as a quarry site for local buildings. In support of this 'looting' theory, the image at the top of this posting represents an armorial stone found above the entrance to the (now defunct/vacant) Cross Keys pub in Montgomery Street, Eaglesham which may well have originated form the castle. The triple Fleur-de-lis is the family crest of the Montgomerys whilst the triple ring is the family crest of the Eglintons. This stone may have recorded the marriage of a Montgomery with a Eglinton Heiress in the 14th century, possibly Sir John Montgomery and Elizabeth of Eglinton.

The name Polnoon may have been derived from either:

  • An old Scots word 'poinding' meaning ransom, or
  • 'Pol', a deep bend or pool in a river which is indeed a feature of the castle's location.
Overall, a satisfying morning spent finding and researching the history of this little known site.

video video


posted by Catswhiskers @ 7:17 AM  0 comments


Post a Comment