Robert Adam, Robert McLachlan and others. 18th-19th centuries, incorporating earlier structures and with later reconstruction and alterations; later alterations, 20th and 21st century. 1-4 storey complex of buildings, in castellated classical style, grouped around two courts, including clock tower; irregular rectangle to W and irregular triangle to E. Buttressed walled drive descending to seashore to NE. Detached coach house to E of main court. Earlier stables and associated buildings, currently offices, residences and visitor facilities. Coursed rubble, square snecked rubble and ashlar. Granite setts to W courtyard. Clifftop site to E of Castle, with principal entrance on W immediately off Coach Ring (see separate listing).
MAIN STABLE BLOCK: circa 1750, with embellishments by Robert Adam, circa 1785. 1-4 storeys. 7 bays and corner towers to principal (W) elevation. C-plan around inner courtyard ('Clock Tower Court'). Central square-plan clock tower of 4 stages with single storey wings and 2-storey raised pavilions to N and S. Single storey courtyard ranges to E. W (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: arched central pend entrance through base of clock tower. Tower flanked by single storey 2-bay wings, 2-storey single-bay end pavilions, with arched windows at lower level, and terminated with narrow 3-storey cylindrical towers. Central tower with Serlian window above entrance, Diocletian window at 2nd floor. Blind top storey with dummy arrow slits and gilded black clock dial. Crenellated parapet above machicolated cornice. Pepperpot turrets to corners of clock tower. E (COURTYARD) ELEVATION: arched central entrance flanked by single storey 3-bay wings with central doors and dormer windows above. Doorways in re-entrant angle of N and S ranges. N RANGE: S (COURTYARD) ELEVATION: single storey, 4 bays ' doorway 3rd from left. Dormer window above central bay. Single-bay extension, with doorway only to E. N RANGE: N (EXTERNAL) ELEVATION: integral to battlemented wall. S RANGE: N COURTYARD ELEVATION: single storey, 5-bays, with doors to 1st and 4th bays from left. Dormer window above central bay. S (EXTERNAL) ELEVATION: 2-4 storeys (declining to E), 5 bays, terminated by cylindrical towers with battered bases. Arcade of 5 stable entrances to ground floor. 12-pane windows at first floor, having dummy windows in 3 right hand bays. Crenellated parapet stepping up one storey for 2 right-hand bays. 3 windows at 2nd floor left. Interior refurbishment to form shop to ground floor central range by ARP Lorimer Architects 2000-2001.
Multi-paned windows in timber sash and case. Some original shadow panelled double leaf timber external doors. Vertically boarded double leaf timber stable doors to S. Grey slate roofs.
INTERIOR (seen 2010): former tack rooms in clock tower converted to offices, with new partitions and retaining some 19th century panelled doors and fittings. Stone stairs to 1st floor with timber stairs to upper level (original). 19th century clock movement in loft. Barrel vaulted chambers to lower level on S. Other interiors of main stable block now residential accommodation, Stables Cottage and Royal Artillery Cottage to N and WVS Cottage to S. 20th century fixtures and fittings, with some 19th century panelled doors retained. Original timber staircase in WVS Cottage.
GUARD HOUSE: possibly 16-17th century, recast early 19th century. Single storey, windowless, semi-circular plan. Originally a garderobe, later staff lavatory, currently a store. Coursed rubble construction. Integral to battlements to NE side of stable courtyard. Crenellated and machicolated parapet. Flat buttresses. Doorway and niche with shallow stone trough to flat W wall. 2 gun loops to SE. Chute opening to N. Shallow mono-pitch slate roof.
COACH HOUSE: Robert McLachlan, 1807. Single storey, 3-bay, rectangular-plan, astylar classical coach house block with raised parapet above cornice and hipped roof, now converted to shop. Droved ashlar and square snecked rubble. Sited on E of courtyard with entrance to W. W (FRONT) ELEVATION: 3-bay arcaded ashlar façade. 2 concertina coach doors of vertically boarded timber flanking central stepped arched doorway set in pilastered doorcase. Panelled timber double doors with fanlight above. Lancet windows set into pilasters of doorcase. E ELEVATION: Central bay with stepped pilasters having machicolation at capitals. 12-pane window to each bay with arched niche above central window. Dummy bartizans on corners of parapets. N & S ELEVATIONS: blind. Coach door apertures now filled with full-height metal framed glazing panels. 12-pane timber sash and case windows to E. Grey slates to roof. INTERIOR (seen 2010): Late 20th century timber shop fittings. Flagstone floor.
GAZEBO (E) COURT: sunken triangular courtyard enclosed by crenellated wall. Cylindrical gate piers at entrance on W. Gazebo to E and Old Stables to S.
OLD STABLES: single storey windowless, rectangular-plan vernacular stable building with piended roof, now cafeteria. Squared and snecked rubble with droved ashlar dressings. Sited on S side of courtyard. N ELEVATION: doorways to right and left. W ELEVATION: doorway to right. S and E ELEVATIONS: blind. Panelled double timber doors. Grey slates and skylights to roof. INTERIOR (seen 2010): refurbished in plain manner. Exposed timber rafters and sarking, with metal bracing. Vertically boarded pine tongue and groove panelling to walls. Glazed internal doors. Iron framed 19th century horse stall dividers with ball finials and horizontal pine boarding. Timber lined stud partitions to conveniences on E. Floor laid with irregular old flagstones.
GAZEBO: possibly 17th century, recast circa 1785 (probably by Robert Adam). Single storey, 3-bays, irregular curved-plan, castellated gazebo with piended roof; integral to battlements on N, S and E. Originally a slaughterhouse, later a viewing gazebo, currently annexe to cafeteria. Coursed rubble with droved ashlar dressings. W ELEVATION: central door flanked by small windows. E ELEVATION: 3 windows to curved wall overlooking sea. Multi-pane windows in timber sash and case, glazed double timber doors and grey slate roof (all reinstated 1997). INTERIOR (seen 2010): pine tongue and groove panelling to walls (1997). Stone flags to floor.
SERVICE DRIVE WALLS AND CHUTE: circa 1785. Robert Adam. Extending from plain cylindrical piers at entrance to Gazebo Court behind (E) Stable Courtyard and following descending serpentine route to shore. Squared rubble and droved ashlar. Irregular crenellation with niches apertures and buttresses. Slab coping. Square plan rubbish chute from rear of stables to lower embankment, with steel door at foot. Drive terminated at shore with pair of gate piers in the form of pepperpot turrets: circular plan, moulded cornice, crenellated parapets, conical cap with ball finial.
BATTLEMENTS: 18th century incorporating earlier structures. Irregularly crenellated and stepped wall around edge of promontory, integral to guard house, gazebo and N range of main stable block. Rubble construction with slab coping.
ENTRANCE PIERS: 18th century. Cylindrical piers with flat circular coping. Ashlar construction. No gates.
Statement of Special Interest
Part of an A-group at Culzean Castle Estate comprising: Culzean Castle; Castle Walls etc; Fountain Court etc; Ruined Arch and Viaduct; Stable Block etc; Camellia House; Cat Gates; Home Farm; Powder House; Ardlochan Lodge; Dolphin House; Hoolity Ha'; Swan Pond Complex; Swan Pond Ice House; Walled Garden; Bathing Complex; Water Works; Shore Boat House; Battery and Mast House; Main Drive Walls and Piers; Gas Works.
The stable complex is an outstanding ensemble of ancillary estate buildings intended to enhance the scenic qualities of the cliffs at Culzean Castle, and which reflects over 50 years of commitment to its satisfactory completion. The interesting group evolved over time and, although the predominant style is castellated, the crenellations and turrets are wilfully blended with classical elements while, within the courtyard, the vernacular of the courtyard ranges contrast with the purer classicism of the coach house. The main stable block, including the clock tower, was built in the 1750s by the 9th Earl of Cassillis, originally as an entrance to the castle precinct, and known as the Old Tower Gate. This was part of general improvements at Culzean, which included repairs to the Castle and the building of a garden dyke. Some of the walls at the cliff edge, and the structures integral to them probably predate this work. Following the initial phases of Robert Adam's remodelling of the castle, commenced in the late 1770s, he enhanced the picturesque qualities of Culzean with embellishments to the stables, viaduct and the garden walls in the form of mock fortifications, in the 1780s. It seems likely that walls around the cliff edge and the slaughter house received a similar treatment at this time. The old garderobe had not yet been recast into Guard House in an engraving of 1791. It is likely that the embellishment of the Service Drive Walls and the Gate Piers at the shore were not completed until about 1817, when many other planned works at Culzean were brought to a conclusion by the 12th Earl. The construction of the Coach House commenced in 1807, under the supervision of Hugh Cairncross (died 1808), who had been Robert Adam's clerk of works for his Culzean commissions. Later, a plain Victorian extension added a single-bay to the north range of Stable Court. Part of the main stable block was converted to residential accommodation during the 1940s and 1950s as part of an initiative to provide veterans' housing. The old stables is of uncertain date, but may be no older than the other buildings in the stable complex as it appears to have been constructed after the enclosure walls. In 1997, after having been in use as a joiners' workshop, it was converted into a cafeteria and the gazebo, by then roofless, was restored to become its annexe.
Together with the outstanding ornamental landscape of its estate, Culzean Castle is acknowledged as the epitome of the Picturesque movement in Scotland, in its own right and is a work of international importance. Culzean, at one time the largest estate in Ayrshire, has been associated with the Kennedy family since the Middle Ages. It was gifted by Gilbert the 4th Earl of Cassillis to his brother Thomas Kennedy, in 1569. In the 1660s, the barmekin around the tower house was breached to create the terraced gardens, orchards, and walled garden for which Culzean was notable, while the caves beneath the castle (a Scheduled Monument) were fortified to serve as secure stores. Culzean Castle became the principal family seat when Sir Thomas Kennedy (1726-75) became the 9th Earl of Cassillis, in 1759. A continuing programme of improvements was undertaken by Sir Thomas and his successors during the 18th and 19th centuries. The 10th Earl began rebuilding the Castle to designs by Robert Adam. This work was continued by Archibald (1770-1846), the 12th Earl, later the 1st Marquess of Ailsa. From about 1810 onwards he commissioned numerous structures, both practical and ornamental, and several important architects and landscape designers were engaged to embellish the gardens and grounds with ponds, gates, lodges and pavilions, resulting in several key works of the Picturesque era. The 3rd Marquess undertook the modernisation and enlargement of the Castle in the 1870s. In 1945, the 5th Marquess of Ailsa divided the property, making over the Castle, and the policies immediately surrounding it, to the National Trust for Scotland.
Robert Adam (1728-1792) was one of the most prominent architects of his generation and, for a time the most fashionable architect in Britain. He helped to usher in the neoclassical taste that superseded Palladianism and created a refined style of interior design that came to bear his name. His castellated mansions set in Romantic landscapes, such as Culzean and Seton, helped define the picturesque movement and strongly influenced the design of Scottish country houses in the first half of the 19th century. With his family firm he undertook most types of architectural work, although large public commissions, such as Register House and Edinburgh University, only came towards the end of his career.
Robert McLachlan (1779-1858), architect and builder, was a resident of Ayr. He is known to have worked as a mason at Loudon Castle. He had the contract to build the New Church at Ayr (1807), designed by David Hamilton, and he designed and built Maybole Parish Church (1808).
The Stable Court and flanking walls were previously included in the list description of Culzean Castle. Listed as part of the Culzean Castle Estate Review, 2010-11.