Colzean Castle, p.246.

[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]

   COLZEAN CASTLE – sometimes written Culzean or Cullean – a noble mansion in the parish of Kirkoswald, the seat of the Marquess of Ailsa, founded by David, 10th Earl of Cassillis, in 1777. This noble castellated edifice is situated upon a basaltic cliff projecting into the sea, of about 100 feet in height, and almost perpendicular. The plan and design were by Robert Adam; and such is the style of the architecture, the execution of the work, and the beauty of the stone, that, more than any other building in Ayrshire, it impresses the mind with ideas of elegance, order, and magnificence. At a short distance from the castle stand the stables and farm-houses, planned by the same architect, and executed upon the same scale. The entire buildings, with the bridge of approach to the castle, cover four acres of ground. The castle commands, from the principal apartments, a delightful prospect of the whole frith of Clyde, with a full view of the rock of Ailsa. On the land side, and immediately below the castle, are the fine gardens belonging to the old house of Colzean, formed in three terraces, and long celebrated for their beauty and productiveness. The remainder of the old gardens has been formed into pleasure-grounds and gravel walks, which are kept with great care. Round the castle, and the adjoining buildings, lies an extensive policy of about 700 acres, interspersed with ancient trees and thriving plantations. Near to the castle, and immediately under some of the buildings, are the Coves of Colzean. These coves or caves are six in number. Of the three towards the west, the largest has its entry as low as high water mark; the roof is about 50 feet high, and has the appearance as if two large rocks had fallen together, forming an irregular Gothic arch. It extends inwards about 200 feet, and varies in breadth. It communicates with the other two, which are both considerably less, but of the same irregular form. Towards the east are the other three coves, which likewise communicate with each other. They are nearly of the same height and figure with the former. It has been matter of dispute whether these coves are natural or artificial. The largest of the three westmost coves has a door, or entry, built of freestone, with a window three feet above the door, of the same kind of work; and above both these, there is an apartment, from which stones and other missiles might be hurled on the assailants of the door. This last circumstance seems to indicate that at least this part of the coves has been at one period or another the abode of man. 

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