Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
North Ayrshire
Planning Authority
North Ayrshire
NS 31920 41945
231920, 641945


Early 1840s. Rectangular, covered former racquet court with simple pilastered pedimented entrance elevation to the north. Predominantly rubble with coursed stone to the north façade and ashlar margins. Central 6-panelled timber leaf entrance door to north with pilastered pedimented doorway.

There are grey slates to the roof. There are window openings to the north elevation and roof lights. The window openings to the ground have timber shutters and the 3 upper storey windows are 3-over 3-pane timber sash and case. There is a later, adjoining single storey and attic cottage to the south.

The interior was seen in 2014. There is an entrance vestibule and a large open space with a replacement timber roof and replacement gallery, dating from the 1980s.

Statement of Special Interest

The racquet hall at Eglinton dates to the early 1840s and is the oldest surviving racquet court in the world. The building has a decorative classical entrance elevation and is one of a cluster of ancillary buildings which form part of the former, once wealthy, Eglinton Castle Estate. Internally, there has been some refurbishment but the original large open quality of the original building remains. The original large granite floor slabs are also thought to be in situ, under the current timber flooring. The hall is used currently as an exhibition centre (2014).

The racquet hall at Eglinton Castle was built in the early 1840s (circa 1842) by the 13th Earl of Eglinton and was the first covered racquet court in the world. The first recorded match at the court was in 1846. The Earl also started the first racquet club in Glasgow at 285 Bath Street (a building which has been demolished).

The sport of racquets began in the 18th century as a pastime for the prisoners in London's debtors' prisons, initially playing against the prison walls. The game gradually spread to schools and some purpose-built courts were built. Harrow School in London was the first school where the game was played in the second half of the 18th century.

The sport is played in a 9.1m by 18m court with a ceiling of at least 9.1 m high. The walls are usually dark, in contrast to a light coloured ball. A player uses a wooden racket to hit a hard white ball. The sport is still played, mainly in private schools and clubs in England, the United States and Canada and there are a number of different championships. The game of squash derived from racquets.

Owned by the once powerful Montgomery family, Eglinton Estate was one of Scotland's wealthiest estates in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The family moved out of the estate on 1925 and the estate was sold in 1948 to Robert Howie of Dunlop. By this time, many of the buildings, including the castle were in a ruinous condition. By 1981 the Irvine Development Corporation began to redevelop parts of the estate and in 1986, around 1000 acres were set aside as Eglinton Country Park.

The 13th Earl of Eglinton is perhaps best known for his extravagant medieval-style pageant and tournament of 1839. This event was an excessive display of medieval chivalry at Eglinton Castle, with jousting, parades, medieval costumes a banquet and ball. Around 100,000 people attended the event and the cost was prodigious. It rained during the event and the huge cost was one of the contributing factors to the decline of the family wealth.

Listed building record updated, (2014).



Ordnance Survey (1860) 25 inches to the mile. 1st Edition, London, Ordnance Survey.

Close, R. and Riches, A. (2012) The Buildings of Scotland, Ayrshire and Arran p477. Yale University Press. New Haven and London.

Landscape of the Knights, Eglinton Country Park, (undated), North Ayrshire Council.

Haynes, N. (forthcoming), Scotland's Sporting Buildings, Historic Scotland: Edinburgh.

Further information from North Ayrshire Council archivist (2014).

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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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: 20/04/2024 05:06