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Publication Account

Date 1985

Event ID 1016560

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


A setting amidst the shipyards of Port Glasgow may seem a somewhat incongruous background for one of southern Scotland's finest 16th century houses. In one way, however, it is quite fitting, as in 1668 the house and its surrounding land were sold to the magistrates of Glasgow for the express purpose of founding a harbour for the city merchants, and it was imaginatively christened New-Port Glasgow.

The house consists of three elements disposed around three sides of a courtyard, with the 16th century block on the north linking two earlier wings; the fourth side is now open, but at one time it was closed off by a curtain wall. The earliest part of the house is a 15th century rectangular tower which forms the east wing. Facing it, on the opposite side of the courtyard, is the mid 16th century gateway which, like that at Crossraguel Abbey (no. 54), provided both a fortified entrance to the courtyard and a tower with residential apartments above.

The principal interest of the house, however, lies in the commanding late 16th century range that forms the north side of the courtyard. It is entered from the east, opposite the gatehouse, and above the entrance there is a panel bearing the date 1597 and the monogram of the owner, Sir Patrick Maxwell, together with the inscription 'The blissings of God be herein'. The basement is taken up with domestic offices including the kitchen, buttery, stores and, to the south of the main entrance, a large bakehouse. The greater part of the first floor is occupied by a large hall, built on the grand scale, with a magnificent fireplace on the north wall next to a turnpike stair. This staircase led to the private apartments and long gallery which were situated on the second floor. The external angles of this block are provided with corbelled angle-turrets which are complemented in the middle of the north wall by the semi-circular stair turret leading upwards from the hall. Set on the top of an angle-tower in the corner of a ruined wall to the north-east of the castle, there is a beehive dovecote similar to that at Crossraguel Abbey.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Clyde Estuary and Central Region’, (1985).

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