Heritage > British Castles

Culzean Castle

The Family

Sir T. Kennedy
9th Earl of Cassillis
D. Kennedy
10th Earl of Cassillis
Captain A.Kennedy
11th Earl of Cassillis
A. Kennedy
12th Earl of Cassillis
A. Kennedy
13th Earl of Cassillis
A. Kennedy
14th Earl of Cassillis
A. Kennedy
15th Earl of Cassillis
16th Earl of Cassillis
A. Kennedy
17th Earl of Cassillis
D. Kennedy
18th Earl of Cassillis

The Kennedy culfamily have been associated with the province of Carrick in south Ayrshire certainly since the end of the 12th century. They claim descent from the Earls of Carrick and Kinship with the culfamily of Bruce.

John Kennedy is the first to emerge into the light of history; in 1367 he is recorded as Steward of Carrick and about the same time he acquired the lands of Cassillis. His grandson, James Kennedy of Dunure, married Mary, daughter of King Robert III in 1407. James had five brothers, and their descendants, spread over south-west Scotland, at one time or another owned 40 estates.

They played their parts in Scots history. One fought for France in the Hundred Years War; one lead the scots under Joan of Arc to relieve Orleans; another was a hostage for the redemption of his uncle, King James I, from his long captivity in England; for the fourth became Bishop of Dunkeld and St. Andrews, and is remembered by the students at the University there to this day in the Kate Kennedy procession. David, great-grandson of James and Princess Mary, Became 1st Earl of Cassillis, and fell at Flodden in 1513.

The 2nd Earl was murdered; the 3rd Earl died of poisoning in Dieppe after helping to negotiate the marriage of the infant Mary, Queen of Scots, to the Dauphin of France.

The 4th Earl died from injuries sustained after his horse fell on him, but is remembered for having roasted the Commendator of Crossraguel Abbey in Dunure dungeons to force him to hand over Abbey Lands.

When the 8th Earl died without heirs, there was a three-year Court dispute as to the succession. The title finally went to Sir Thomas Kennedy of Culzean. He, and his brother who succeeded him in 1775, were active 'improvers' of their estate, and it was David, the 10th Earl, who commissioned Robert Adam to remodel the Castle.

There were no direct heir and the title passed to Captain Archibald Kennedy, Royal Navy, of New York, whose town house was No. 1 Broadway. His son, the 12th Earl, was a great friend of H.R.H. William, Duke of Clarence, who on his coronation as William IV in 1831, added the honour of Marquess of Ailsa to the Earldom of Cassillis.

The 2nd Marquess was killed in a hunting accident; the 3rd succeeded at 22, and lived to be 90. It was he who built the west wing. After his death in 1938 he was succeeded by each of his three sons in turn.

In 1945 the 5th Marquess and the Kennedy culfamily gave the castle and estate in to the care of the National Trust For Scotland.

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