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


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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NS 38527 60413
238527, 660413


Circa 1776. 2-storey, roofless, octagonal Classical look-out tower, prominently situated at summit of Kenmuir Hill. Coursed, stugged and pinned stone with polished ashlar margins. Raised base course, band courses, cornice; raised margins. Rectangular, blocked window openings to ground with entrance door to S. Sloping cornice to entrance door. Key-stoned, around-arched window openings to each face, with taller opening above entrance door. Single wallhead stack.

INTERIOR (seen, 2011). Rubble. Fireplace opening to upper storey wall.

Statement of Special Interest

This roofless temple structure is a significant and highly prominent structure in the local landscape. It is finely detailed and looks out over the former Castle Semple Estate and surrounding landscape. Now roofless, the round-arched window openings are distinctive features and add to the Classical design of the structure.

The building is depicted on the 1785 Map of the Estate as being surrounded by trees with a number of radiating paths leading to it, which suggests that it was conceived as a landscape feature with fine views over the estate and surrounding countryside. It is possible that a deer park was established at Kenmuir Hill and the animals could be viewed from this look-out. Classical features in designed landscapes were popular in the 18th century estates, particularly, as here, when combined with aligned vistas. A smaller look-out structure was placed on Parkhill to the North West of this and it is likely that one could be viewed from the other.

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 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. 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 in the 1960s. 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. 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 owner.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). 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 only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. 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 Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. 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 current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


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Printed: 18/04/2019 19:37