Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NS 37734 60099
237734, 660099


Attributed to Robert Hunter of Ayr, circa 1735 (see Notes). Largely symmetrical remains of Castle Semple House facing S to Castle Semple Loch. Central ruins of external basement walls with linking screen walls to former wings and with further L-plan former stable pavilions to far right and left (currently converted to form 4 separate residential dwellings, 2011). Ashlar with chamfered rusticated quoins to outer sections. Raised margins, cornice. Rusticated lintels to basement window openings. Screen walls with open key-stoned round-arches and round-arched niches. Round-arched key-stoned niches to inner elevations of former wings.

LANDAU HOUSE: to far right (NS 37790 60095): 2-storey, 5-bay L-plan house with re-entrant angle to W. Exterior stone stair in re-entrant angle with balcony supported on single Ionic column. Single-storey, piended roof section to N. Pair of wide, key-stoned, round-arched window openings to S. Low, rubble wall to S with decorative metal gate.

CASTLE SEMPLE HOUSE: to right (NS 37761 60096): 2-storey 6-bay former wing with courtyard to W. Small window openings to upper storey. Some key-stoned round-arched window openings to W elevation. Tall curved boundary wall to W. Slated roof.

SEMPLE HOUSE: to left (NS 37714 60075). 2-storey, 6-bay former wing. Low coped rubble wall to S. Small square window openings to upper storey.

LOW SEMPLE HOUSE: to far left (NS 37704 60046): 2-storey, 5-bay L-plan house with later, single storey U-plan extension to N, forming courtyard. Later, lean-to glass covered walkway to N and W courtyard elevations. Pair of wide, key-stoned, round-arched window openings to S.

Mixture of glazing. Predominantly small pane replacement timber sash and case windows; some 6-over 6-pane to ground and with 3-over 3-pane to upper storey. Casement windows to property at far left. Grey slates; Bell-cast roof to Landau, Castle-Semple House and Semple House. Cast iron rainwater goods.

INTERIORS (partly seen, 2011). Later interiors.

Statement of Special Interest

These remains of the former Castle Semple mansion form an impressive group in the landscape and are the core buildings of the former Castle Semple Estate. Each is well detailed with raised quoins, and round-arched details and are witness to the high quality work of the former mansion house. Together with the external walls of the original basement storey, these remains clearly define the original footprint of the mansion. The decorative detailing in the key-stones arches and round-arched screens add to the interest of the building.

The architect of the house is, as yet, unconfirmed, although a number of sources credit it to Robert Hunter, of Ayr, a mason. Photographs from the late 19th century show a 2-storey and basement pedimented Classical House with steps leading to the central front entrance in Palladian style. The 2-storey inner wings contained bedrooms, and the outer wings or pavilions, with their double arches, contained stables for a dozen horses and 2 coaches.

This house existed until the early 20th century, when it was initially let, and then abandoned. It was gutted by fire in the 1920s and by 1971, it was roofless. It was demolished to the basement storey in the 1970s.

Castle Semple Estate has a long history, originally associated with the Semple family who built the first Castle Semple and the collegiate church (scheduled monument, 2011) around 1504. In 1727, the Semples sold the estate to a sugar plantation owner, William McDowell. McDowell began a range of land improvements to the estate, which form the basis of the current estate, including building a new Castle Semple House and landscaping the grounds. The previous house was known as Castleton. The 2nd William MacDowell continued the improvements to the estate in the latter half of the 18th century, including erecting the Temple at the deer park in Kenmuir Hill. The Estate was sold in 1814 to a Major John Harvey who continued to improve the landscape. The family finances declined during the course of the 19th century and the estate was sold in 1908 and the house was let. After this, the house was converted to apartments and the land broken up into small holdings. The House was damaged by fire in 1924 and the central portion of it demolished to basement level in the 1970s. The remains of the house was used as storage facilities and were redeveloped gradually from the 1960s to the beginning of the 21st century into four residential dwellings.

The central section of the estate is currently a Regional Park.

List description updated, 2012.



Castle Semple Estate Plan, circa (1785) Renfrewshire Council. John Ainslie, Map of the County of Renfrew, (1800). Plan of Castle Semple Estate, 1808, NAS RHP 3609/1/1. The New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1834-45), Vol 7 p77. A.H. Millar, Castles And Mansions Of Renfrewshire, 1887. Strong, Binney and Harris, The Destruction Of The Country House, 1975. (illus 214) Binney, Harris & Winnington, Lost Houses Of Scotland, 1980. Crawford and Robertson, History Of The Shire Of Renfrew pp 152-3 Paisley Library index. Cairn of Lochwinnoch MS (Paisley Library). Castle Semple sale catalogue. 1907. Paisley Library. F A Walker, The South Clyde Estuary, (1986) pf69. Stuart Nisbet, Castle Semple Rediscovered, (2009). The SCRANI Partnership, Conservation Statement and Management Proposals, prepared for Clyde Muirsheil Regional Park, (2008). Further information from owners.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 16/07/2019 09:00