Dean Castle


Dean Castle is situated in the Dean Castle Country Park in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland. It was the stronghold for the Boyd Family, who were lords of Kilmarnock for over 400 years.The Castle takes its name from ‘The Dean’ or wooded valley, a common place name in Scotland. However, until about 1700 it was called Kilmarnock Castle. Owned originally by the Boyd family, it has strong historical connections with many people and events famous in Scottish history. Robert the Bruce who gave the Boyds these lands; James III of Scotland whose sister married a Boyd; the Covenanters, some of whom were imprisoned here; Bonnie Prince Charlie, whose rebellion was joined by the 4th Earl of Kilmarnock and Robert Burns who was encouraged to publish his poetry by the Earl of Glencairn who owned the Castle at that time.HistoryThe Boyd Family came into possession of the grounds of Dean Castle in 1316, when Sir Robert Boyd was rewarded the lands of Kilmarnock and West Kilbride by King Robert I for his services at the Battle of Bannockburn.KeepThe Keep was built around 1350 by Sir Robert Boyd’s son Sir Thomas Boyd. It was built mainly for defence, the walls are 2–3 metres thick, it has few windows, and the original entrance is high above ground level. There are no arrowslits in the walls of Dean Castle something which is very rare for a Scottish castle of this time period, all of the shooting was done from the battlements at the top.


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