IN a letter I had some years ago from the late Mr W. B. Scott, he
said:—"The oldest part of Penkill Castle, a high square block, with
quoin-turrets, and an enclosing wall and gate, was built by Adam Boyd, whose
tombstone stands in Old Dailly Churchyard, sometime in the 16th century; a
newer and more commodious portion was added by Thomas Boyd, in 1628, as
shown by various dates still existing; while the Castle in its present state
was the work of the late Spencer Boyd, who also lies now in the family
burying-place." These Boyds were related to the Earls of Kilmarnock, whose
last chief met his fate on the Tower Hill of London in 1746, for taking part
in the rising on behalf of Prince Charlie. Penkill Castle is thus one of the
oldest inhabited houses in Ayrshire, and stands picturesquely on the edge of
Penwhapple Glen, about half a mile above Old Dailly Churchyard. As may be
seen from the drawing, it is an antique-looking pile, and its appearance
inside is quite in keeping with its appearance outside. The entrance hall is
hung round with ancient armour, while the furnishings of the rooms, even to
the wide old-fashioned fire-places, transport one in fancy 300 years back.
Running round the spiral staircase is a series of mural paintings by Mr W.
B. Scott, representing scenes from the "King's Quhair," a poem by James I.
of Scotland; and the quaint little bedrooms upstairs have their ceilings
painted to represent birds flitting about in the morning sunshine.
Altogether, a visit to Penkill is a lesson both in art and in antiquities.