Accessibility

Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Portencross Castle

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Portencross Castle

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Farland Head; Portincross Castle

Canmore ID 40598

Site Number NS14NE 2

NGR NS 17542 48926

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/40598

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council North Ayrshire
  • Parish West Kilbride
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Cunninghame
  • Former County Ayrshire

Archaeology Notes

NS14NE 2 17542 48926

(NS 1754 4891) Portencross Castle (NR) (remains of)

OS 6" map (1969).

See also NS14NE 3.

Portincross Castle appears to have been built in the 14th century, with later modifications. It has been ruinous since it was unroofed in 1739, but its massive walls are still entire. It consists of an oblong keep, three storeys and a garret high, with a wing, one storey higher, placed at one end. The whole of the ground floor is vaulted and there are entrances on the ground and first floors.

Macgibbon and Ross state that there has been a wall with a gateway between the castle and the edge of the rock on which it stands.

This was the fortalice of the barony of Ardneil, which belonged to the Rosses, and was given by Bruce to Sir Robert Boyd of Kilmarnock. Several royal charters are signed from here, possibly used as a crossing-point to Bute.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1889; N Tranter 1965

Portencross Castle is as described, the exterior being in good condition. No trace was found of a wall between the castle and edge of the rock.

Visited by OS (DS) 12 September 1956

Previous field report confirmed.

Visited by OS (EGC) 30 October 1964

No change.

Visited by OS (JRL) 18 November 1982

The SW wall of this tower house, when viewed in oblique sunlight, shows the trace of a wraggle which corresponds to the right hand slope of the gable of a later, unrecorded building, probably wooden. The wraggle rises to a visible height of 6.1m above ground level. The corresponding left hand slope is not visible, having been obliterated by weathering. The gable covered a window which opened on to a wheel stair.

E M Patterson 1988.

NS 175 489 A watching brief was maintained in September 2006 during the installation of fixings and a temporary roof cover at Portencross Castle, an A-listed scheduled monument. Three trial pits were excavated in the walls and floor, two along the SW and SE wall at attic level and a third in the centre of the attic floor. The results confirmed that the condition of the stonework mortar was too poor to support fixings for the intended concrete and steel structure. Lime mortar screed and stone packing over the vault were partially exposed and recorded during excavation of the SW and SE test pits.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS. Report lodged with WoSAS SMR and NMRS.

Sponsor: Friends of Portencross Castle and Historic Scotland.

C Francoz, 2006.

Activities

Watching Brief (September 2006)

NS 175 489 A watching brief was maintained in September 2006 during the installation of fixings and a temporary roof cover at Portencross Castle, an A-listed scheduled monument. Three trial pits were excavated in the walls and floor, two along the SW and SE wall at attic level and a third in the centre of the attic floor. The results confirmed that the condition of the stonework mortar was too poor to support fixings for the intended concrete and steel structure. Lime mortar screed and stone packing over the vault were partially exposed and recorded during excavation of the SW and SE test pits.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS. Report lodged with WoSAS SMR and NMRS.

Sponsor: Friends of Portencross Castle and Historic Scotland.

C Francoz 2006

Archaeological Evaluation (22 April 2008 - 25 April 2008)

NS 175 489 An evaluation of the floor deposits in the basement and Great Hall of Portencross Castle was undertaken from 22–25 April 2008. The evaluation found that the existing basement floor, which consisted of flagstones and cobbles, was of relatively recent date and that the original stone floor lay about 0.45m below the flagstones and cobbles. A drainage culvert in the basement had been in-filled in modern times. The evaluation in the Great Hall found a compacted clay floor layer overlying a rubble infill.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended). Report: RCAHMS and WoSAS SMR

Funder: The Friends of Portencross Castle and The Heritage Lottery Fund

Christine Rennie (GUARD), 2008

Standing Building Recording (May 2008 - September 2009)

NS 175 489 A standing building survey and a watching brief were carried out May 2008–September 2009 during

consolidation and repair work on the castle. The survey suggested that there were three main phases of construction, which may have begun in the mid-14th century and extended through to the 18th century. These were followed by a fourth phase of repair and reconstruction in the 19th and 20th centuries. The watching brief revealed an enclosure wall and two 19th-century anchors. The entrance to a pit prison was also discovered at the base of the spiral stairs.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended). Report: RCAHMS and WoSAS SMR

Funder: The Friends of Portencross Castle and the Heritage Lottery Fund

Heather James – GUARD

Archaeological Evaluation (19 April 2018 - 26 April 2018)

A programme of archaeological works was required to supplement previous investigations in early 2017 to inform on the nature of sediments and archaeological strata along the line of a proposed drainage from Portencross Castle. Five small test pits were excavated, no significant archaeological material was recovered or identified.

Information from OASIS ID: rathmell1-315496 (C Williamson) 2018

References

MyCanmore Image Contributions


Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions