tower hosue
14th century
aka Ardneil, Auld Hill, Portencross


NS 175 489
in Portincross
w of B7048


open site


Friends of the castle
Clan Boyd


Portincross Castle

Quite a few changes from the last time we were here! Our last visit, this little tower was locked up tight, bracing against the wind and rain. It was in good condition, but not open. Now, it's sheathed entirely in scaffolding!

scaffolding and tarps on yet another tower house

14th century tower house

The castle here -- a small, compact tower house -- dates from the 14th century. It is roughly an l-plan castle, with a four-storey wing added to the original tower. It is possible an older castle (dating from the 13th century, the seat of the barony of Arneil, or Arnele) existed on the site. The current castle is further down the hill, on a rocky outcrop near the water.

The current castle was left roofless after a storm in 1739 - it looks like the efforts now are to replace the roof and stabilize the ruins.

The main block is 12m x 9.5m, with 2.3m thick walls. The cellars and first-storey hall are both barrell vaulted . The taller wing runs along the long side of the tower, and is a 5.7m wide an two storeys higher. THe wing contains kitchens and private rooms.

There are two entrances, one to the main tower, the other to the added wing, both opening to vaulted cellars. A vaulted first floor hall fills the main block, with a staircase inthe wall between the added wing and main tower. Before, we could peer in through the locked door, but we can't even get close to the tower this time, what with all the fencing.

repairs to the roof and upper floors are critical


The lands here originally belonged to the Ross family, but they had the poor foresight to support the losing side of the Wars of Independence and lost their claim on the lands when Robert the Bruce granted the property to the Boyds, his own followers.

Since Robert II and Robert III stayed at the castle on numerous occassions, and it was a good stopping-off point for thier travels between their primary castles (Dundonald an Rothesay), it is possible that the castle was built specifically for their use by their loyal supporter.

From about 1600 onwards, the castle was left as housing for local fisherman, and was abandoned as a royal residence. The Boyd's held the property until 1785, then sold it to the Fullertons of Overton.

It is currently being restored by the 'Friends of the Castle' - a local historic group working to stabilize and repair the ruins.

the castle stands on a rock jutting into the sea