Turnberry Castle

Turnberry Castle, Ayrshire

~ History ~

1214 ~ King William I of Scotland dies. During his reign he had awarded the ancient celtic site of Tunberry to the Lords of Galloway, the early Earls of Carrick. Later Duncan and then his son Neil begin the building of a mighty stone fortress to serve as the family's principle residence and to dominate the surrounding area.

1256 ~ Following the death of Neil, his daughter Margaret marries Robert de Brus, and in doing so the castle passes to the Bruces. They in turn continue the building of the castle.

1286 ~ Several Scottish barons who support the title of the Bruce as successor of the crown meet secretly at Turnberry Castle. Robert the Bruce is only 12 years old at the time.

1297 ~ The castle is burnt by William 'le hardy' Douglas. The young Earl of Carrick and future King Robert, retaliates by burning the lands of Douglas and capturing his wife and young son James.

1301 ~ The English sieze Turnberry Castle but are unable to stop the Scots in Carrick revolting so flee to King Edward I's camp at Linlithgow, leaving behind a token garrison. Months later the Constable of Ayr complains in a letter to King Edward that the Scots are 'before the walls of Turnberry, with 400 men-at-arms and within these eight days want to attack Ayr'.

1302 ~ Ayr Castle is besieged by the Scots with little success. Roberty the Bruce having surrendered to King Edward.

1307 ~ Robert the Bruce takes back his family's castle by entering the castle by the sea boat entrance of the castle, taking the unwelcomed English garrison totally by surprise. After slaughtering the garrison he later slights the castle to prevent the English retaking it and again holding it once more against him. This policy is repeated again and again across Scotland to expell the English from their castles.

1314 ~ The overstretched English army are defeated at the Battle of Bannockburn by King Robert the Bruce of Turnberry Castle.

1326 ~ Repairs on the castle commence for the next forty years at a cost of £165. It however never again regains its importance and is allowed to fall into decay.

1330 ~ Following Robert the Bruce's death James the 'Black Douglas', who as a child had been captured with his mother by the Bruce's, carries the King's heart to Spain at the Battle of Teba where he is killed. The King's heart however is returned to Scotland and buried at Melrose Abbey.


Turnberry Golf Course, Girvan




KA26 9PD

Turnberry Castle is located on a rocky headland protected on three sides by the sea and defended on the landward side by a great dry ditch. A village now long gone beneath the manicured lawns of the golf course, was once surrounded by a wooden palisade and protected by a second dry ditch with wooden gate house and fixed bridge. The stone castle itself astride its rock stacks was reached by a drawbridge with portcullis and was divided into two parts. A lower gatehouse and courtyard but also an upper Keep with D-plan tower and an unusual lean-to boathouse with seaward access for supply vessels, guarded by a huge seagate portcullis.

Today all that is left beside the towering lighthouse, looking out across spectacular views, is a collection of tumbled walls and mounds of this once great coastal stronghold of the Bruce Earls of Carrick and Robert The Bruce, Kings of Scotland.

The castle can be reached from the main road via a path that takes you across the golf course and old air strip towards the lighthouse.

A fascinating site of enormous importance that leaves you feeling a little sad at its ruinouse state.