Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Crosbie Tower (Ayrshire) - Past and Present

Sadly, Crosbie Tower is an example of just how quickly a building can deteriorate. Situated on high ground near the sea at West Kilbride in Ayrshire, it is a small 17th-century building altered in the 19th century. There are claims made for an earlier tower on the site.

Crosbie Tower 1900
Crosbie Tower in 1900

The building is of the T plan with an oblong main block with a projecting start tower. This style can also be found at Monk Tower in the same region and at Blackhall in Paisley. There are no turrets or gun loops which confirms its late date. It was said to contain good chimney pieces and oak panelling.

Crosbie Tower 2015
Crosbie Tower in 2015
Crosbie Tower fire
Crosbie Tower in 2015 showing fire-gutted section
Photo courtesy of a Scottish Castles Association member

Restoration work took place in 1837 and again later in the century. Nigel Tranter noted that it was in good condition and was occupied in the 1960s. By the 1970s, it was enjoyed by many during its time as a youth hostel. A fire caused the abandonment of the building which placed it on the Buildings at Risk Register and part was demolished in 2007 after heavy storm damage – even though it was listed Category B. By 2009 it was noted as derelict and surrounded by security fencing. In 2015, there was no change except that a tree was now rooted in the fire-damaged range.

Article by Scottish Castles Association member Brian McGarrigle.

Added: 29 Nov 2017 Updated: 29 Nov 2017
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