Early 17th century, 3-storey and attic L-plan laird's house with lower 3-storey wing to N and internal modelling late 17th century, maintenance work carried out 1981. Corbelled, circular turrets to SE and NW angles, round stair turret in NE re-entrant angle; late 19th century single storey wing to W. Cream sandstone rubble, ashlar dressings. Cavetto-moulded eaves course, asymmetrical arrangement of windows, round-angle window margins, chamfered reveals to windows in N wing, traces of blocked windows on E elevation, crowstepped gables.
MAIN L-PLAN BLOCK:
W ENTRANCE ELEVATION: asymmetrical; ashlar porch off-centre left, boarded door with small peephole window, roll-moulded surround, surmounted by 2 finialled pediments with helaldry and monogrammed (DGR and SAS) cradling finialled gablet. Window above to left, smaller window at 2nd floor with decorative gabled dormerheaded window breaking eaves above. Taller crowstepped gabled bay to right with apex stack, small window at 1st floor to right, window midway between 1st and 2nd floors to left with window to centre above. Corbelled angle turret (NW) to left.
S ELEVATION: asymmetrical; window off-centre left at ground, door to outer right, arrowslit window to outer left. Traces of blocked arched opening off-centre right at 1st floor, single windows to right and left, smaller window to outer left. 2 widely spaced windows at 2nd floor. Tall wallhead stack off-centre right, corbelled angle turret to right.
E ELEVATION: crowstepped gabled return of S wing with apex stack, small window at 1st floor with traces of blocked window to left. Small window at 2nd floor to right and left, small window to attic. L-plan return to right and left, small window to attic. L-plan return to right with circular stair tower with stepped stair lights in re-entrant angle.
Door to left with roll-moulded architrave, arrowloop window at 1st floor with small window above, 2 windows at ground to right, window to 1st floor to left, window above. Crowstepped gabled return to right with apex stack.
LATER N WING:
W ELEVATION: single window at 2nd floor.
E ELEVATION: window off-centre left at ground, window at 1st floor to centre, blocked window to left, window at 2nd floor to centre.
N ELEVATION: crowstepped gabled return with apex stack, window at ground, 1st and 2nd floors to left, smaller window to 1st floor to right.
Multi-pane casement windows. Grey slate roof, conical roofs to turrets, broad apex stacks with splayed chimneyheads, beak skewputts.
INTERIOR: spinal corridor at ground running EW and dividing N and S wings; old kitchen to left (N), arch of old fireplace reinstated (circa 1989). Newel stair in re-entrant angle to all floors. Straight stair along W wall to drawing room at 1st floor to S, with timber beamed ceiling and large stone chimneypiece. Good chimneypiece to upper rooms and mostly timber beamed ceilings. Attic floor reinstated (circa 1989).
WING TO W: long single storey wing with advanced block to SE. Cream sandstone rubble. Asymmetrical arrangement of windows and doors.
S ELEVATION: 4 bays; modern window to centre, window to outer right, advanced block to left with 2 casement windows with lying-pane.
W ELEVATION: door to right, M-gabled roof. Mostly 12-pane sash and case windows. Grey slate roof.
BOUNDARY WALL: rubble wall with semi-circular coping enclosing garden of castle.
Statement of Special Interest
The house formerly closed the eastern side of a small courtyard bounded on the north by a two-storey wing dating from the late 17th century additions. This northern wing was later replaced by the present lowe
r wing extending west which incorporates part of the older structure in the south wall. The main entrance to the castle was originally to the east adjoining the stair tower. The late 17th century additions included the lengthening of the north wing and moving the entrance to the west elevation to accommodate internal remodelling. The heraldic panels of Sir Archibald Stirling of Keir (3 buckles on a bend) and his second wife Dame Grizel, second daughter of James, Lord Ross (chevron cheque and 3 water-budgets) appear on the gablets over the porch. Dame Grizel's arms are also on the dormerheaded window on the west elevation. McGibbon and Ross record that a dormerheaded window on the south elevation dated 1610 was also part of these later works and serve to fix a date for the alterations, other sources record this date as the date of building. (This window was removed in the early 20th century, McWilliam.)
Tranter notes that although the later works were carried out by the Sterlings of Keir the early history and the original owner/builder of the castle is unclear. Nearly all this land had become Hamilton property in the second half of the 16th century. However he suggests that it may have been Captain James Stewart of Ochiltree in Ayrshire, who managed to acquire most of the Hamilton property, who may have
given the castle its name or even have been responsible for the building of the castle.
Ochiltree Castle has a fine display of original chimneypieces. It also has a 'Laird's lug' an opening in the wall of the drawing room in which the Laird could eavesdrop on his guests.