In 1569 Thomas MacLellan of Bombie was given the site of a ruined Greyfriars monastery in the town of Kirkcudbright. The monastery, which was built in around 1455, was demolished leaving only its chapel and on the site an L-plan castle was built. The chapel is now called Greyfriars Church. Construction of MacLellan’s Castle began around 1577, instigated by Thomas. The work is commonly assumed to date to 1582 based on the year being carved into a stone panel above the entrance. Despite never being finished in its entirety, it was home to MacLellan’s descendants until 1752 when it was sold to Sir Robert Maxwell. By this time the castle was in a state of ruin and the roof had collapsed. Thirty years later, Maxwell sold MacLellan Castle to Dunbar Douglas, 4th Earl of Selkirk.
In MacGibbon and Ross’ 1887 work, The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland, the authors remarked “the whole building is a mass of ivy, giving it the appearance of a huge haystack, of a green rather than yellow colour”, however they were of the opinion that aside from the roof the building was in good condition. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland was created in 1908 to preserve Scotland’s historic buildings. Several buildings were already under state care, and as part of this growing concern to preserve standing buildings twenty buildings (eight of them castles) were taken into state care between 1911 and 1913. MacLellan’s Castle counted among these – it was handed over to the state in 1912 – and is now under the guardianship of Historic Scotland. [Wikipedia]
The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland 1887
The castle referred to in the text would be the old castle at Castledykes.