COLZEAN CASTLE—sometimes written Culzean or
Cullean — a noble mansion in the parish of Kirkoswald, the seat of the
Marquess of Ailsa, founded by David, 10th Earl of Cassillis, in 1777.
This noble castellated edifice is situated upon a basaltic cliff
projecting into the sea, of about 100 feet in height, and almost
perpendicular. The plan and design were by Robert Adam; and such is
the style of the architecture, the execution of the work, and the
beauty of the stone, that, more than any other building in Ayrshire,
it impresses the mind with ideas of elegance, order, and magnificence.
At a short distance from the castle stand the stables and farm-houses,
planned by the same architect, and executed upon the same scale. The
entire buildings, with the bridge of approach to the castle, cover
four acres of ground. The castle commands, from the principal
apartments, a delightful prospect of the whole frith of Clyde, with a
full view of the rock of Ailsa. On the land side, and immediately
below the castle, are the fine gardens belonging to the old house of
Colzean, formed in three terraces, and long celebrated for their
beauty and productiveness. The remainder of the old gardens has been
formed into pleasure-grounds and gravel walks, which are kept with
great care. Round the castle, and the adjoining buildings, lies an
extensive policy of about 700 acres, interspersed with ancient trees
and thriving plantations. Near to the castle, and immediately under
some of the buildings, are the Coves of Colzean. These coves or caves
are six in number. Of the three towards the west, the largest has its
entry as low as high water mark; the roof is about 50 feet high, and
has the appearance as if two large rocks had fallen together, forming
an irregular Gothic arch. It extends inwards about 200 feet, and
varies in breadth. It communicates with the other two, which are both
considerably less, but of the same irregular form. Towards the east
are the other three coves, which likewise communicate with each other.
They are nearly of the same height and figure with the former. It has
been matter of dispute whether these coves are natural or artificial.
The largest of the three westmost coves has a door, or entry, built of
freestone, with a window three feet above the door, of the same kind
of work; and above both these, there is an apartment, from which
stones and other missiles might be hurled on the assailants of the
door. This last circumstance seems to indicate that at least this part
of the coves has been at one period or another the abode of man.