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Culzean Castle Estate, Battery and Mast House, Including Retaining Wall and Flagstones

A Category B Listed Building in Kirkoswald, South Ayrshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.3539 / 55°21'14"N

Longitude: -4.7911 / 4°47'27"W

OS Eastings: 223150

OS Northings: 610202

OS Grid: NS231102

Mapcode National: GBR 43.4T91

Mapcode Global: WH2Q6.CPRH

Entry Name: Culzean Castle Estate, Battery and Mast House, Including Retaining Wall and Flagstones

Listing Date: 2 November 2011

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 400772

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51822

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Kirkoswald

County: South Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Girvan and South Carrick

Parish: Kirkoswald

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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Description

Robertson Buchanan (engineer for Battery), 1815. Alexander Pollock (designer of Mast House), 1908. Double C-plan gun battery with ramparts breached by 11 gun ports. Octagonal-plan shelter, with pyramidal roof and veranda, on E side of battery.

BATTERY: grassed earthenwork ramparts, with embrasures, to NE. Random rubble retaining wall to SW. Vertically boarded timber shelter. Flagstone settings for cannon and shelter. 9 Cast iron cannon. Clifftop setting, oriented towards Firth of Clyde to the N.

MAST HOUSE: veranda carried on octagonal columns, with foliated iron brackets. Timber seats against outside walls. Vertically boarded timber door to SW. Slated roof, with timber skirting. 12-pane timber framed fixed casement window to SE. INTERIOR (seen 2010): single octagonal chamber with vertically boarded timber lined walls and ceiling. Timber floor. Timber window shutter. Base of truncated mast to centre.

Statement of Interest

Part of an A-group at Culzean Castle Estate comprising: Culzean Castle; Castle Walls etc; Fountain Court etc; Ruined Arch and Viaduct; Stable Block etc; Camellia House; Cat Gates; Home Farm; Powder House; Ardlochan Lodge; Dolphin House; Hoolity Ha'; Swan Pond Complex; Swan Pond Ice House; Walled Garden; Bathing Complex; Water Works; Shore Boat House; Battery and Mast House; Main Drive Walls and Piers; Gas Works.

The ornamental battery at Culzean forms an important part of the landscaped surroundings of the A-listed Castle, which constitute a significant work of the Picturesque movement. It was commissioned by Archibald (1770-1846) the 12th Earl of Cassillis, later the 1st Marquess of Ailsa, a collector of military memorabilia. The idea for the battery arose in response to the suggestion that, despite its mock fortifications, the Castle appeared rather undefended. It was designed in 1812, but not completed until 1815 when it was furnished with 11 6-pounder naval cannon cast at the Clyde Ironworks. The battery originally featured a tall ship's mast, originally used for signalling yachts, at the east end around which the timber shelter was built in 1908. This necessitated moving 2 of the guns. The mast was truncated in the mid-20th century. A gunpowder magazine, the powder house, of circa 1815 (see separate listing) is located a short distance to the west. This is the only known coastal battery to be built primarily for ornamental purposes. It is believed that the cannon have occasionally been used for firing salutes.

Together with the outstanding ornamental landscape of its estate, Culzean Castle is acknowledged as the epitome of the Picturesque movement in Scotland, in its own right and is a work of international importance. Culzean, at one time the largest estate in Ayrshire, has been associated with the Kennedy family since the Middle Ages. It was gifted by Gilbert the 4th Earl of Cassillis to his brother Thomas Kennedy, in 1569. In the 1660s, the barmekin around the tower house was breached to create the terraced gardens, orchards, and walled garden for which Culzean was notable, while the caves beneath the castle (a scheduled monument) were fortified to serve as secure stores. Culzean Castle became the principal family seat when Sir Thomas Kennedy (1726-75) became the 9th Earl of Cassillis, in 1759. A continuing programme of improvements was undertaken by Sir Thomas and his successors during the 18th and 19th centuries. The 10th Earl began rebuilding the Castle to designs by Robert Adam. This work was continued by Archibald (1770-1846), the 12th Earl, later the 1st Marquess of Ailsa. From about 1810 onwards he commissioned numerous structures, both practical and ornamental, and several important architects and landscape designers were engaged to embellish the gardens and grounds with ponds, gates, lodges and pavilions, resulting in several key works of the Picturesque era. The 3rd Marquess undertook the modernisation and enlargement of the Castle in the 1870s. In 1945, the 5th Marquess of Ailsa divided the property, making over the Castle, and the policies immediately surrounding it, to the National Trust for Scotland.

The Battery was formerly a scheduled monument (SM 7884) but was de-scheduled 14 December 2011. It was listed, together with the mast house, as part of the Culzean Castle Estate Review (2010-11).

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