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Council commits to conservation of historic North Ayrshire castle site

Posted on 28 May 2024


North Ayrshire Council has agreed to allocate an additional £263,420 from the Irvine Common Good fund towards the ongoing works to preserve Seagate Castle in Irvine.

The money will see experts carrying out stabilisation and conservation works at the site near the River Irvine.

This decision was approved at a recent meeting of Full Council.

In March 2020, the Council approved funding of £250,000 from the same fund to carry out similar works. However, the progression of these works was delayed because of the Covid pandemic.

Since then, design, investigation and preparatory works have been undertaken and a revised project scope has been approved.

This includes:

  • Full conservation works as detailed by conservation architects
  • Structural protections and supporting works to protect the structure’s stability and integrity and
  • Additional and new underground drainage works.

When it was possible following the pandemic, work restarted and some elements have progressed, including surveys, investigations and provision of condition assessment reports.

There have also been: ongoing meetings and discussions with Historic Environment Scotland, including on site and investigative works; archaeological digs, topographical reports, soil tests, tree removal and vegetation clearance.

Construction works were also done post-pandemic to preserve Heraldic emblems that form part of the detailing on the castle, which is an Irvine Common Good Asset.

Works costing a total of £61,000 have already been carried out.

The total project costs, including professional fees, is now estimated to be around £513,000 and construction is expected to start in spring next year.

The project aligns with the Council’s priorities of Wellbeing and Communities and Local Democracy by ensuring places and public spaces are well maintained and accessible, and also by respecting North Ayrshire’s local environment and cultural heritage.

The castle, owned by the Council, overlooks Irvine’s oldest street, Seagate, and is an important part of the town’s heritage.

The third and final version was built in 1565 by Hugh Montgomerie, 3rd Earl of Eglinton as a home for him and his wife Agnes Drummond. The family arms can be seen on the ceiling bosses inside the front doorway.

Seagate was abandoned as a residence in the 1740s and in 1945 was gifted to Irvine Burgh by former owner Mrs Jessie Walker.