Quite possibly the single oldest castle in the country of Scotland, Kelburn Castle has been inhabited by the same family since 1140. Originally the name of the family was De Boyville, but over the years changed to just simply Boyle. It is thought that the family came to Britain with William the Conqueror, sometime in 1066. The current family settled in Kelburn around 1140. Kelburn Castle is located in North Aryshire, Scotland and is the seat of the Earl of Glasgow.
There is little information available about the construction of the original keep, but it is assumed that it was built for defensive purposes rather than comfort, based on the similarity to the construction of other facilities of that time which was around 1200 AD. Sometime around 1581, David Boyle enclosed the original keep with a much larger and grander castle complex. This marked the emergence of the family’s start to power in the local community.
However, the 17th century proved to be troublesome for the Boyles and they obtained their wealth through ship building and shipping. Later, the family heavily relied upon the public service aspect of the community, especially when trying to put a stop to smuggling. John Boyle, the ruler in the 17th century, became the father of the first Earl of Glasgow. The changes that the first Earl, David Boyle, made were not unlike that of a French Chateau and stands virtually the same today, except for the Graffiti art which was done by invitation in order to stop the failing of the concrete facing on the castle, in 2007. The repairs for the concrete may start sometime this year.
Unfortunately for the Boyle family, trouble was arose in the religious controversies of the day and they became indebted by building and endowing churches all over Scotland. The buildings included a big building near Perth and one on Cumbrae. By the late 1800s they found themselves owing nearly one million pounds. A cousin, David Boyle of Stewarton, sold his lands near Irvine in order to have enough money to buy back the Kelburn Facilities at auction. Unfortunately all the rest was lost.
During the years much chaos and lore has been steeped into Kelburn Castle and the lands surrounding it. The present Earl of Glasgow and his wife Isabel started a country park in the 1977, opening the grounds and house to the public. It is truly a wonderful place to visit for those interested in history, or wishing to learn more about the castles and have fun in a modern setting with a historical base.