Kenmure Castle

Kenmure Castle, Dumfries and Galloway

~ History ~

1296 ~ John Balliol, King of Scotland, appointed by King Edward I of England just four years earlier, is forced to resign the throne, following King Edward's invasion of Scotland and the Scots defeat at the Battle of Dunbar.

1297 ~ Kenmure passes to the Maxwell's and then the Gordons of Lochinvar.

1299 ~ John Balliol is finally released from his imprisonment in the Tower of London and allowed to sail to France. However, when his baggage is examined at Dover, the Royal Golden Crown and Seal of the Kingdom of Scotland, with many vessels of gold and silver, and a considerable sum of money, are found in his chests. King Edward I orders that the Crown be offered to St. Thomas the Martyr and that the money be returned to John for the expenses of his journey. But King Edward keeps the Seal for himself. John is finally released into the custody of Pope Boniface VIII on condition that he remains at a papal residence.

1568 ~ The castle is besieged and torched after the Gordons entertain Mary, Queen of Scots, at the castle.

1633 ~ Sir John Gordon of Kenmure is made Viscount Kenmure by King Charles I.

1650 ~ The castle is burned by Cromwell for the Gordan's open support for King Charles I.

1715 ~ William, 6th Viscount, is beheaded on Tower Hill for supporting the Jacobite Rising after being captured at the Battle of Preston, and the family estates are forfeited.

1790 ~ Kenmure Castle is recorded as in ruin.

1824 ~ Following years of Gordan descendants fighting loyally in the armed forces for the Crown in order to atone for their ancestor's Jacobite's action, an act of Parliament see's their family honours and lands restored to them.

1847 ~ Adam Gordan who succeeded his uncle John, following years of loyal service as a naval officer fighting in the American Wars, dies leaving no heir. Kenmure passes to his sister.

1879 ~ The castle is extensively remodelled, including the use of gunpowder to remove the courtyard wall and north-east tower.

1908 ~ Further extensionsare made to the castle.

1935 ~ The family sell the estate.

1950's ~ After being used as a hotel, the castle is stripped of its roof and fixtures and left in ruin.


1 mile south of New Galloway


High Street, New Galloway



Kenmure Castle stands on a rock once defended by marshy ground on all sides. The Castle consists of a ruinous 16th-century tower house of three storeys and an attic, with additional 18th and 19th century alterations.

There may have been a stronghold here of the Lords of Galloway, and John Balliol might have been born at Kenmure, rather than at Buittle Castle. On his forced abdication as King of Scotland, the property probably went to the Maxwells

Today a long unkept driveway lined by trees leads from the road to the castle mound, from which there is a climb up to the terrace and lost gardens. The building even in its ruinous state is still quite impressive and can be full explored with care.

A thoroughly worthwhile castle to explore.