The Predecessors

During my stay at Auchinleck House earlier this year, a trek through the grounds brought me to the crumbling ivy strewn remains of the Old Place of Auchinleck.

The Old Place of Auchinleck

This tower house was built in 1612 and served as the seat of the Lairds of Auchinleck before being superseded by the newer 18th Century mansion. It had itself replaced the yet more ancient Auchinleck Castle which had already fallen into disrepair by the 17th Century, its site now marked by only a few remaining stones.


I was interested to see this line of succession still visibly traceable upon the ground, bearing witness to the different sites where generations of the Boswell family had built their homes over the centuries. It put me in mind of what older structures may have stood before the ruined mansions I’m familiar with, and what became of these outmoded predecessors. Continue reading

Delusions of Grandeur

Since a young age I’ve been fascinated by ‘big houses’. Enchanted by their stately interiors and impressive edifices, I’ve always fantasized about living in a castle or mansion. Last week gave me just a taste of what it’s like to call such a place home.

The entrance front

Auchinleck House in East Ayrshire is owned by The Landmark Trust, a charitable organization who rescue endangered buildings across Britain and make them available for holiday rentals. My Mum, a fellow historic house enthusiast, has stayed in Landmark properties before, and last summer we were browsing their website with purely innocent intentions. Needless to say our willpower soon faltered upon finding a stately mansion close to our home available for a discounted winter rate the following January. Within a few minutes we’d egged each other on to the point of booking Auchinleck House (capable of sleeping a party of thirteen) for just the two of us! It was a somewhat crazy whim, but the prospect of indulging our shared delusions of grandeur proved just too inviting. Continue reading