Kelburn estate has been in the possession of the Boyle family since the twelfth century and the castle is now the seat of the Earls of Glasgow.
The castle consists of three buildings: a tall late-16th century tower, an 18th century mansion and a Victorian wing. The tower has the date 1581 above a window that was once the main entrance. Work on the mansion section started in 1692 and bears the date 1722 along with the Boyle arms.
The mediaeval Boyles were descended form a Norman family, the de Boyvilles from Caen; part of a group of nobles who followed David I to Scotland after his many years at the English court. They fought for Alexander III at Largs in 1263 and again for Bruce at Bannockburn in 1314. Also, John Boyle fell at Sauchieburn defending his monarch in 1488.
Kelburn Country Centre
On 28 May 1977, Kelburn Country Centre opened to the public. The old farm buildings were now offices, information centre exhibition room, café and souvenir shop. Paths and bridges had been built in the Kelburn Glen to take visitors to vantage points and picnic areas.
In the estate gardens, visitors could now enter the walled garden called the Plaisance and also see the Bamboo Jungle, the Weeping Larch, Monument and sundial.
In 1977, the castle remained shut to the public but it was opened up in 1992 at a charge of £1.50 per person. Two years later in 1994 the centre was enhanced with the opening of the Secret Forest.
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