Ardstinchar Castle, Ayrshire
Mains Road, Ballantrae
Ardstinchar Castle sits on a rocky crag above the strategic bridgehead of the River Stinchar.
The location overlooking the river as it makes its way out to the sea is quite stunning on a clear blue-sky day.
Although very ruinous it is still well worth a visit if you are driving up this beautiful Ayrshire coast.
There is limited parking at bottom of the castle near the war memorial.
~ History ~
1429 ~ Alexander Kennedy who holds the lands of Ardstinchar dies without leaving a male heir to inherit his estates. His brother Hugh, a Dominican friar, had already left his monastery in Scotland to fight in the Hundred Years War against the English.
As a paid mercenary Hugh leads the troops of Joan of Arc in laying siege to Orléans.
1450 ~ Hugh builds himself a castle at Ardstinchar from the fortune obtained in the Hundred Years War on the land inherited from his brother.
Hugh had fought for the French against the English for Joan of Arc at the siege of Orleans.
Together with his brother Thomas he combines their respective estates to form the Barony of Ardstinchar.
1454 ~ Hugh dies, His descendants continue to live in the newly built castle.
1563 ~ Mary, Queen of Scots visits the castle.
1601 ~ A long standing family feud with the Cassillis family, which has simmered since the days of Hugh Kennedy, erupts into violence leading to the murder of the last Baron of Ardstinchar. As a result of this the family fortunes are eventually lost and the Kennedy estates, including the castle, are sold to Sir John Hamilton of Letterick, son of the 1st Marquis of Hamilton.
1770 ~ The castle has fallen into disrepair and is quarried for stone in the construction of the stone bridge crossing the river. Later more stone is robbed to build local houses and farmsteads.