Ardrossan Castle

The earliest evidence for a stone castle, consisting of a gatehouse block and courtyard, on this site dates to the late 13th or early 14th centuries.  There followed various stages of rebuilding after destruction during the Wars of Independence in the 14th century and in the 15th/16th centuries when the gatehouse was transformed into a keep or towerhouse known as the "Read Tower". Along the west curtain wall earlier wooden buildings were replaced with a stone range and on the northwest side of the courtyard there may have been a small chapel. At the southwest corner another tower was built.   According to tradition, the castle was destroyed by Cromwell and was certainly a ruin by 1689.   The earliest recorded lord of Ardrossan was Richard de Barclay who witnessed a charter of Richard de Morville to Kilwinning Abbey in 1140. In 1296, Godfrey of Ardrossan swore fealty to King Edward I of England in the now infamous Ragman Roll.   However, Fergus of Ardrossan and his brother joined the Scottish forces at the seige of Stirling in 1304 and after the Scots surrender were imprisoned in England. During this time, Ardrossan castle seems to have been held by English nobles.   Sir Fergus of Ardrossan fought in Ireland with Edward Bruce and may have been killed at the siege of Arscoll, Kildare, in 1316. It was probably his son, also Fergus, who was the only lord from Ayrshire to sign the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.   The castle occupies the summit of a promontary overlooking Ardrossan. It has a large keep or gatehouse to the northeast and a second tower at the southwest corner with the remains of a vaulted ground story. There is also a small courtyard , two cellars, a range of buildings and a well off a deep passage.
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Fleming and Swan
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North Ayrshire Council
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