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Kelburn Bridge over Kel Burn on south approach drive, Kelburn Castle Estate, Fairlie

A Category C Listed Building in Largs, North Ayrshire

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Latitude: 55.7697 / 55°46'10"N

Longitude: -4.846 / 4°50'45"W

OS Eastings: 221568

OS Northings: 656591

OS Grid: NS215565

Mapcode National: GBR 31.9HDW

Mapcode Global: WH2N7.J7MR

Entry Name: Kelburn Bridge over Kel Burn on south approach drive, Kelburn Castle Estate, Fairlie

Listing Date: 29 August 1985

Last Amended: 17 November 2016

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 406523

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB7300

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Largs

County: North Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: North Coast and Cumbraes

Parish: Largs

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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Around 1750. A single-span, segmental-arch bridge crossing the Kel Burn to the southwest of Kelburn Castle on the principal south approach drive to Kelburn Castle. The bridge has a level carriageway with a stepped splayed parapet of diagonally droved ashlar, and polished ashlar voussoirs with a moulded cornice.

Statement of Interest

This mid-18th century single-span bridge of classical proportions, is finely constructed with diagonally droved ashlar stone with simple, paired-back detailing and survives largely as it was first built. It forms part of the processional approach to the castle and makes a contribution to our understanding of the design and development of the Kelburn Castle landscape during the 18th century.

Age and Rarity

Probably dating to around 1750, this single-span bridge over the Kel Burn to the south of the castle, retains the same footprint as it appeared on the first Edition Ordnance Survey map, surveyed in 1855.

By the beginning of the 18th century, the laying out of estate landscapes began to move away from the formal rigidity and symmetrically of the late 17th century estate planning. Classically inspired bridges and monuments were introduced as part of designed landscapes during the 18th century. There are many 18th century bridges on large estates, with Scotland having a particularly fine tradition of bridge building in stone. During this period, longer, curved or serpentine approach drives (moving away from formal, symmetrical approaches) with gate lodges often located at the perimeter of the estate were built, to mark the main entry points to estates. During the 1730s and 1740s, classical and Gothick styles were favoured for estate bridge buildings with informal landscapes laid out in what could be called an idealised natural manner.

Kelburn is among the oldest ancestral country seats in Scotland to have been continuously inhabited by successive generations of one family, having been in possession of the Boyle family (formerly de Boyville ) since the 12th century. Kelburn has a prominent coastal setting to the south of the town of Largs, with views from the castle across the Firth of Clyde to the Isles of Cumbrae and Bute and southwest to the Isle of Arran. The Kel Burn runs through the estate, passing through a wooded ravine and over a 15 metre high waterfall to the southwest of the castle.

The castle is the focal point within the Kelburn estate policies. The principal phases of addition are distinctly identifiable and the successive additions dating from the early Scottish Renaissance to the present day represent changing political and cultural values as well demonstrating a significant transition in Scottish domestic architecture at this time. Associated ancillary estate buildings and structures, including sundials, monuments, stable offices, lodges, bridges and worker s cottages (some of which are listed separately) contribute to our understanding of this historically significant ancestral seat.

Architectural or Historic Interest



Plan form

The splayed-rectangular plan form and single span arch is typical of (small) estate bridges added to the estates of Scotland during the 18th century.

Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality

The single-span, classically inspired form of this bridge is contemporary with the significant improvement works made to the Kelburn Estate during the mid-18th century. The large blocks of diagonally droved ashlar stone are well hewn and of a good material quality.

It is functional and understated in its design and scale with a simple moulded arch with voussoirs in the classical style, and has been designed to blend in with the natural landscape.


The bridge over the Kel Burn at Kelburn Castle is a component of the principal approach to the castle from the south, and is part of a group of associated contemporary estate buildings including the inter-visible former home farm (LB7296).

Regional variations

There are no known regional variations.

Close Historical Associations

None known at present. Kelburn is among the oldest country seats in Scotland to have been continuously inhabited by successive generations of one family, the Boyles.

Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2016. Previously listed as Kelburn Bridge over Kelburn Water near former Stable Block .

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