Scottish Castles Photo Library
- Baltersan Castle, South Ayrshire

Baltersan Castle is about a mile south-west of the town of Maybole and a half-mile from Crossraguel Abbey (pronounced Cross-ray-gill). Timothy Pont, the famous cartographer who was the first man to produce a detailed map of Scotland, noted in the 16th century that Baltersan was a "stately fine house with gardens orchards and parks around it." He would have visited Baltersan after the first known occupant, a Lady Row, died in 1530. She is known because her tombstone can be seen in the knave of Crossraguel abbey and her will was later found in an old chest.

Gilbert, 4th Earl of Cassillis (pronounced castles) obtained the lands on which Baltersan stood - and much more besides - after boiling in oil (with a "slow fire") the Commendator of Crossraguel Abbey at Dunure Castle. Not for nothing are the Earls of Cassillis known as the "Kings of Carrick". His half-brother, John Kennedy of Pennyglen, began building Baltersan Castle as an L-plan tower house on the first day of March, 1584, with his spouse Margaret Cathcart (his second of three wives). We know this because of a faded armorial shield above the entrance door. Despite the manner in which the property had been obtained, the lintel also goes on to preach "The name of the Lord is a strong tower: The righteous runneth into it". John Kennedy also owned Greenan Castle on the cliffs of the Heads of Ayr - where his third wife is commemorated on the lintel there.

After John's death in 1609, Baltersan passed to a succession of Kennedies and even to a cousin Hugh Arbuthnott, a captain in the British navy. He was resident at the castle for some time and became a Burgess of the Burgh of Ayr in 1725.

Around the middle of the 18th century, however, the castle seems to have been abandoned but came back to the ownership once again of the Kennedies of Cassillis. Even so, it was bought in the late 19th century by a Peter Sturrock, a former Provost (mayor) of Kilmarnock, with the intention of restoring it. But that plan was never progressed and Baltersan returned to Kennedy hands.

In 1992, the castle was bought by a James Brown - who is planning to restore the castle to its former grandeur with time-share ownership. Historic Scotland (who normally object to renovation of ruins) are said to be supportive. The project's Website says (in February 2007) that they "are in the process of finalising details of our seasonal ownership and will publish these in January, 2007."

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