Greenan Castle

Greenan Castle, Ayreshire

~ History ~

1476 - John, Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles forfeits Greenan and other lands as a result of treason against King James III.

1493 - John again forfeits his lands to the Crown for treason. King James IV grants the Lands of Greenan to William Douglas, son of Archibald, Earl of Angus.

1601 - Following Gilbert Kennedy, the 4th Earl Cassillis, roasting alive of Allan Stewart, to acquire the lands of the Abbey of Glenluce several years earlier, the ensuring feud between the Kennedy Earls of Cassillis and the Lairds of Bargany erupts into open conflict. The Kennedy's rides from Maybole Castle at the head of 200 armed followers to waylay the young Laird of Bargany. A wholly unequal fight leaves the Laird mortally wounded, and before the Earl can dispense with his enemy, the Laird is carried from the scene to Ayr where he dies shortly afterwards. The act is formally noted by an act of council as good service done to the King. The Laird of Authendrane, son-in-law of the slain Laird, is one of the few who bravely attempted to parry the onslaught, receiving severe wounds himself from the encounter, he escaped but vows revenge.

1602 - In the courtyard of Greenan Castle Sir Thomas Kennedy, Earl of Cassillis, and his servant, Lancelot Kennedy, mount their horses to ride to Edinburgh. Within just a few miles whilst entering nearby woodlands of St Leonards, they are ambushed by the Laird of Authrendrane and a posse of local of men. Sir Thomas is murdered in retaliation for his murder of the young Laird of Bargany in December the previous year, at the Battle of Brocklack. Outside of the posse only a poor student by the name Dalrymple, who had provided the intelligence to the Laird to enable him to set up the ambush, is witness to the crime. Dalrymple is confined at Auchendrane and in the isle of Arran, then expatiated for six years as a soldier, to keep him out of the way. On return home the Laird arranges for him to be enticed to his house by a local man by the name of Bannatyne, to a lonely place on the Girven shore, and there the Laird and his accomplices murder him at midnight, burying his body in the sand. Later, the corpse, unearthed by the tide and brought back from sea by the waves to the very spot where the murder took place, brings suspicion upon the Laird and his accomplices. They act quickly and ride to find the one witness who can connect them to the crime, Bannatyne. But they are too late, as he had suspected the move and so makes his confession to the authorities before they can get to him.

1611 - Both the Laird and his accomplices, having been found guilty, are put to an  ignominious death.


2.5 miles South West of Ayr





Greenan Castle was originally a 12th century earthwork and timber fortress, founded by Roger de Scalebroc.. Built on the edge of a sheer coastal cliff, wide ditches with a counterscarp bank cut across the promontory, making inner and outer wards. 

A 16th century tower-house has been built on the site of an ancient fort. About a mile away is a large stone said to mark the spot where Picts and Scots signed a peace treaty.

The best views of the castle can be found from the fabulous beach which is a short walk from the car park.