Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Barr Castle (Renfrew) Past & Present No 100

Barr Castle 1890

Barr Castle pictured in 1890 and, below, the present day

P&P Barr Castle 2012

Barr Castle 2012 - Note the loss of almost all structures above corbel level

Barr Castle

Barr Castle - Note blocked windows and the 17th century pedimented door with inscription: LH IC 1680

Barr Castle stands on a ridge with wide views over Lochwinnoch and near the village of that name. It it a notable landmark for travelers though difficult to find a place to park!

It is an early 16th century tower house of coursed rubble rising 4 storeys from a vaulted basement to a wall walk carried on continuous corbels - a feature common in the West of Scotland. The remains of the barmkin can be made out though much has gone in the last century.

In the 17th century the tower was altered signs of which can be seen by the raggles on the gable and the pedimented door with the date 1680. By this time, of course, the need for defense was no longer an issue.

"It is to be hoped that this situation will not
continue otherwise a superb part of Scotland’s
history will be lost for ever."

At the end of the 19th century the parapet and corner rounds, together with the twin gables still were upstanding (as can be seen in early photograph) but since that time it has steadily ruined. In recent years the door has been bricked up only to be opened by the local small fry as an adventure playground. On my last visit it had been resealed.

This tower, beside a nature reserve; a popular boating loch and within easy commuting distance to Glasgow would appear a superb candidate for restoration but as yet no one has come forward. It is to be hoped that this situation will not continue otherwise a superb part of Scotland’s history will be lost for ever.

My thanks to fellow SCA member, John Pringle, for many of the photographs used in this series.

Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle

Added: 06 Dec 2013 Updated: 08 Dec 2014
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