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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Group Category Details
100000019 - see notes
Date Added
Local Authority
East Ayrshire
Planning Authority
East Ayrshire
NS 43684 39416
243684, 639416


Late 14th - early 15th century rectangular-plan tower house with adjoining mid 15th century rectangular-plan palace and courtyard range; restored and extended, Ingram & Brown, 1905; timber galleries and gatehouse, James Richardson 1937. Coursed sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings.

NE & SE (COURTYARD) ELEVATIONS: high rubble walls with stone corbels supporting later timber galleries, pitched slate roofs on timber uprights surmounting. Timber cantilevered staircase leading to wall turret near Palace Range. Angles terminating in raised crowstep-gabled turrets. Stone well in re-entrant angle of courtyard interior.

PALACE RANGE (S CORNER OF COURTYARD): essentially L-plan with 4-storey stair tower and later 1 ? storey crowstepped lean-to in re-entrant angle. Coursed rubble with ashlar dressings.

NE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: entrance door to ground floor of stair tower, window to 1st and 2nd floors, window to gable with projecting gablehead plaque surmounting; lean-to adjoining to right with window to ground and wallhead dormer to ? storey, matching fenestration to right return. Hall to right of entrance: paired windows to left, long slit window to right, bipartite window to left on 2nd floor, pair of square windows to left on 3rd floor, one above lean-to. Tower to left of entrance: door to ground floor centre with later timber stairs to left leading to timber galleries; central window to 1st and 2nd floors; canted to left of 3rd and 4th storey with stair window to ? storey; machicolated battlements surmounting with watch-tower to left.

SE ELEVATION: blind wall with projecting buttress to centre of 2nd and 3rd storeys, small window to left of 4th storey; machicolated battlements with piended stone slab roof of tower behind; gable of watch turret to right with central window.

SW (REAR) ELEVATION: 2 ? storey range to left: 5 regularly placed bays to ground and 1st floor with randomly placed arrowslits and gun loops, machicolated battlements concealing 5 regularly placed stone dormers to ? storey. Tower to right: arched door to ground floor centre, bipartite window to 1st floor with arrowslit to left, small rectangular window to 3rd floor and 4th floor left; machicolated battlements with piended stone slab roof of tower behind.

NW ELEVATION: courtyard wall adjoining blind ground floor, small window to right of 1st floor, 3 windows placed in almost triangular formation to 3rd storey and gable, corbelled end of parapet walk to right of gable. Gablehead stack resting on projecting stone bearers.

Rubble wall with flat copes and arched doorway linking Palace to Tower House.

TOWER HOUSE (W CORNER OF COURTYARD): 4-storey rectangular-plan tower house with battlements, crowstepped garret and cap house. Coursed rubble with battered plinth.

SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: later entrance door to 1st floor left accessed by flight of stone steps.

SW ELEVATION: blind wall with arrow slit to ground floor centre, central window to 2nd storey, battlements concealing parapet walk; gable end of cap house with projecting stack and window to left.

NW (REAR) ELEVATION: blind wall with slit window to 1st storey right; battlements surmounting concealing parapet walk, stack to centre of garret.

NE ELEVATION: sloping base course with later door cut into centre, original door to 1st floor with arrowslit to right, single window to 2nd and 3rd floors with asymmetric arrowslits to flanks. Battlements concealing guard's house accessed from parapet walk.

Stone and metal framed windows to Palace Range with leaded panes. Piended slate roof with stone ridging. Stone flagging and stone gutters leading to rainwater spouts on parapet walk of tower house.

INTERIORS: palace range: comprising hall, private rooms, kitchen and vaulted cellars. Moulded plasterwork and wainscotting from Balgonie Castle, Fife (installed circa 1930's). Tower house: restored during 20th century although retaining original conventional layout: barrel-vaulted basements (with prison pit), 2-storey great hall with large fireplace, minstrel gallery and stone benches, 3rd floor chamber with 2 later medieval fireplaces and recess with aumbry and piscina. Garret and stone cap house formerly used as a guard room surmounting.

GATEHOUSE: 2 ?-storey, irregular bayed rectangular gatehouse with central pend inset in courtyard wall. Coursed rubble with ashlar dressings, crow-steps and beaked putts.

NE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: large architraved entrance arch flanked by semi-circular bastions with conical caps: window to ground floor on left bastion, door on right one, paired gun loops below cill course on 1st floor, window to each bastion on 1st floor, pair of vertically placed armorial shields to centre above arch, two irregularly placed windows to left of left bastion with architraved cill course; projecting eaves course.

SE ELEVATION: gabled end adjoining courtyard wall to right at both storeys, bipartite window to ground floor, centrally placed window to 1st floor, square window to right of gablehead.

SW (REAR) ELEVATION: arched pend to ground floor centre with door to flanks and small window to extreme left, three bipartites to 1st floor; projecting gable to right with bipartite window to ground and 1st floor with gablehead window to ? storey, single window to ground floor of left return.

NW ELEVATION: gabled end adjoining courtyard wall to left at both storeys, pair of timber doors to ground floor, single window to 1st floor right with pair of small vertically placed windows to gablehead.

Multi-paned timber casement windows within stone mullions. Piended grey slate roof with stone ridge tiles. Stone gablehead stacks with projecting neck copes and low semi-concealed cans. No rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: not seen, 2001 as in use as private / caretakers house.

Statement of Special Interest

Part of an A-Group with Dower House and Lodge. Kilmarnock Castell, called Dean Castle after 1700, has had a chequered past. The earliest past of the castle was constructed not long after King Robert the Bruce gave the lands of Kilmarnock and West Kilbride to Sir Robert Boyd as a reward for faithful service against the English. The 15th century "palace" addition and tower were built whilst Lord Boyd was guardian of James III (James' sister was married to Boyd's son Thomas). The castle was in constant use until 1735 when the main castle buildings perished in a fire thought to have been started by a careless maid. After the fire the Boyds moved into Kilmarnock House (now demolished but sited in the area of St Marnock Street). Lord William Boyd was executed in 1746 for supporting the Stewart cause and Dean Castle was forfeited to the State. His son (later Earl of Errol), who had allied with the pro-Hanovarian Government forces, recovered the estate but sold it to the Glencairn family. Dean Castle remained largely untouched until Lord Howard De Walden embarked, in 1905, on a comprehensive programme of restoration and additions with Ingram & Brown then, circa 1937, with James Richardson who designed the timber fighting platforms and gatehouse. Although never originally part of the castle, De Walden harked back to a romantic fantasy of past life within the castle and added nationalistic architectural devices. De Walden's son, the 9th Lord, donated the entire castle to the town of Kilmarnock. It now houses a museum in the castle containing an impressive collection of European arms and armour, as well as an extensive collection of early musical instruments. A visitor's centre is housed near the lodge (listed separately). The 19th century villa De Walden once resided in is still in use as conference room and office. The District Council purchased the surrounding grounds in 1976 and opened it as a Country Park and rare breeds farm. Open to the Public.



Timothy Pont, CUNNINGHAM TOPOGRAPHIZED (1609) describes Kilmernock Castell (Kilmarnock Castle); Charles Reid, PLAN OF THE TOWN OF KILMARNOCK (1783) showing Dean Castle. Francis Groome, ORDNANCE GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND (1883) p371. John Malkin, PICTORIAL HISTORY OF KILMARNOCK (1988) p121. Rob Close, AYRSHIRE AND ARRAN (1992) p109. Frank Beattie, STREETS AND NEUKS - OLD KILMARNOCK (2000) p23. For information on "KILMARNOCK CASTLE" now Dean Castle:

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.

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Printed: 25/05/2019 21:57