MacLellans Castle

The grey mass of MacLellans Castle dominates the town as did its builders in their time. Standing before it, is the smaller, but equally powerful, war memorial.

About MacLellans Castle

MacLellans Castle was built in the early 1580s for the town’s dominant family – the MacLellans, who acquired the title of ‘Lord Kirkcudbright’ in the 1630s. It was built by Thomas MacLellan on the site of the former Franciscan Friary, and probably incorporates building stone from the friary. Though called a ‘castle’ it was more a defended town house, with– a fitting base for this powerful local family. It has an ‘L’ shape plan with its main entrance at the inner angle of the ‘L’, and had 18 or 20 rooms on three floors.

Costly involvement in the civil wars of the 17th century resulted in the decline of the family fortunes and the eventual abandonment of the castle. Its lead roof was removed in the mid 18th century and it was sold to the Earl of Selkirk (whose principal house was on St. Mary’s Isle just south of the town) in 1782.
It eventually passed to the state in 1912 and under the management and care of Historic Environment Scotland. Today it is regarded as the principal centre of the MacLellan clan by its members across the world.

Kirkcudbright’s war memorial stands in front of the castle. Unveiled in 1921, and with a design based on an unusual theme, the bronze statue was the work of the sculptor George Paulin and was cast in Edinburgh. A group of the town’s artists, including E A Hornel, were advisers on the project.

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