Cochrane Locations

Locations associated with, owned by, and related to Cochrane history.

Lochnell Castle

The site on which the Castle stands has been occupied since the 6th Century, and parts of this original construction are still visible in the undercroft of the Chapel that remains on the site.

The main structure of the Castle dates back to the 15th Century and changes were made to the building in the 1730 when a 'neoclassical' front was added to the front of the Castle, and then later in the 1780's when the Georgian Castle was built to link the Chapel and Castle.

Lochnell Castle  incorporates work of four main periods ranging in date from about the end of the 17th century to about the end of the 19th century. The late 17th century house is now represented only by a service- wing, which forms the SW range of the present building, but a main block of contemporary, or of earlier, date must formerly have occupied the NE portion of the site. In about 1737-9 the house was altered and enlarged by the erection of a new dwelling-house to the SE of this earlier main block. Between about 1818 and 1820 the house was again remodelled, the early NE main block being removed and its site utilised for the erection of a substantial mansion in the castellated style, to which the SW service-wing and the early Georgian dwelling-house formed flanking appendages. At the same time a court of offices, also in the castellated style, was constructed on the NW side of the house, and the SW service wing was extended in length. In 1853 the greater part of the house was gutted by fire, and the building appears to have remained unoccupied until towards the end of the century, when the early Georgian dwelling-house and the SW service-wing were restored. Of the late Georgian mansion, however, only the NE portion was reoccupied, the remainder being patched up and allowed to remain as a roofless shell. There is an 18th- or early 19th century ice-house about 50m to the south of the house.

The estate is formed from a small part of the property amassed by the Campbell's of Lochnell, a branch of the Campbell line of the current Duke of Argyll, and the same family that raised the foot regiment that became the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

​The Cambell family sold the estate in 1912 to the head of the Cochrane family, who's descendant broke up and sold the estate in 1949, following it's requisition as a brigade headquarters during World War 2.

​The principal part of the estate went through multiple ownership before being repurchased in 1962, by the 14th Earl of Dundonald .


Dundonald Castle

There is nothing subtle about Dundonald Castle. The structure whose remains are on view today can be traced back to the accession of Robert II to the Scottish throne in 1371. This was his favourite home and he died here in 1390.

But while this may have been Robert II's favourite home, it is difficult to think of it as in any way homely. After a visit in 1773, Dr Johnson wrote: "Though of considerable size, we could not, by any power of imagination, figure it as having been suitable habitation for majesty".


The first fort here was probably constructed in the Stone Age, but by AD500 a defended settlement occupied the top of the hill. Not well-enough defended, apparently, because whatever was here burned down in about 1000, and the fire was so fierce it melted or vitrified the surrounding rocks. In 1200 a classic motte and bailey castle stood here, which by 1300 had been replaced by a grand stone castle rather larger in scale and ambition than its later replacement.


Cochrane Tower

Opposite the House of Johnstone, on the right bank of the river near (where the town now stands) lay the lands and Barony of Cochran, owned by the Cochran family (some time Earls of Dundonald) for centuries. The crumbling ruins of their ancient castle were just visible about 1817 and to mark the site, the laird of Johnstone erected a tower in 1896. The tower still stands, in a good state of repair, just off Auchengreoch Road and a little to the west of the new High School at Beith Road.  The family of Sir John Cochrane, the Covenanters’ leader, lived at Cochrane Castle on the site of Cochrane Tower. Sir John and his army were looking for refuge in the medieval stronghold when they were intercepted and forced to fight against the dragoons within sight of their destination. The Cochranes were related to the Earls of Dundonald at Ayrshire who owned the historic Renfrewshire Castle (Dundonald Castle), which bears their name. The powerful Earls were involved in the fierce family feuds and political intrigues which ravaged Scotland for hundreds of years. The original Cochrane Castle was demolished during the late 18th century. In 1896, George Ludovic Houstoun, the last laird of Johnstone, erected Cochrane Tower where it once stood. The site is now a private garden.




Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral is built on the site where St Kentigern, or Mungo, the first bishop within the ancient British kingdom of Strathclyde, was thought to have been buried in AD 612.  The present cathedral was built during the 13th to 15th centuries.  It is the only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland to have survived the 1560 Reformation virtually complete.  Quite simply, Glasgow Cathedral is the finest building surviving in Scotland from the 13th century. Indeed, it is widely regarded as the high point of cathedral building in Europe. The oldest part actually dates from Bishop Jocelin’s time (1174–99). He is recorded as ‘gloriously enlarging’ his cathedral in 1181. A fire halted work and it fell to his successors, notably Bishop William de Bondington (1233–58), to complete the work. The end result was a wonderful Gothic confection of pointed arcades, slender traceried windows and an unusual array of three vaulted aisles around the presbytery and choir. The intention was to house a pilgrim shrine to St Kentigern at the main level, behind the high altar, to complement the saint’s tomb in the crypt beneath.


Paisley Abbey

Paisley Abbey was founded when Walter Fitzalan, the High Steward of Scotland, signed a charter at Fotheringay for the founding of a Cluniac monastery on land he owned in Renfrewshire, approximately seven miles from Glasgow.

Thirteen monks came from Much Wenlock in Shropshire to set up the priory on the site of an old Celtic church founded by St. Mirin in the 6th century. In 1245, the priory was raised to the status of an Abbey.  The Abbey was dedicated to St. Mary, St. James, St. Mirin (the 'local' saint who had first brought Christianity to this part of Scotland in the sixth century) and St. Milburga (the 'local' saint of Wenlock).  Under royal patronage, the Abbey became wealthy and influential and evidence exists of extensive trade between Paisley Abbey and commercial centres throughout Europe. The Abbey was also a centre of learning and it is believed that William Wallace, who played a prominent part in the Wars of Independence in the 13th century, was educated by the monks of Paisley Abbey.  Much of the original building was destroyed by fire in 1307 and restored during the fourteenth Century. The sixth High Steward, Walter, married Marjory Bruce, the daughter of the famous Scottish king Robert the Bruce (who had defeated an English army at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314) in 1315. In the following year, Marjory died at the Abbey following a tragic riding accident nearby, but the baby in her womb was saved and he became King Robert II of Scotland, the first of the Stewart monarchs. For that reason, the Abbey claims to be the 'cradle of the Royal House of Stewart.'


Johnstone Castle

Johnstone Castle lies to the southwest of Johnstone town centre.  Only the central tower of the original structure remains on the site.  The nucleus of the present castle was the former 16th century Easter Cochrane Castle, which was greatly added to and altered in 1771 and again in 1812. “The original building i.e. fortalice dates back to the 16th/17th century. This came about sometime after the Battle of Flodden 1513 when Scotland was defeated. King James IV, together with many nobles and subjects were slaughtered. This meant that many homes in Scotland became derelict for some time. Later in the reign of James VI, which was during the Reformation, it was decided to distribute the land among more people, as large territories owned by one family, or by the Church, could prove a threat to the monarchy. A condition of distribution was that a “fortalice” be erected by the owners as a safeguard against feuds, etc.”  The castle, or mansion, was originally known as the House of Easter Cochrane, but was renamed Johnstone Castle when George Houston took over the estate in 1733. Building on the site first began c. 1645 when Sir Loudovic Houstoun moved from the estate of Houston to the Lands of Johnstone.  In 1848, the castle is said to have accommodated its most famous visitor, the composer Chopin, reputed to have stayed there for a month, during which he performed at the Merchants Hall in Glasgow on September 27, during a tour of Scotland. As the surrounding town gradually expanded, the estate lands were slowly sold off, and the last laird of Johnstone died in 1931.


Killdrummy Castle

Kildrummy Castle is a ruined castle near Kildrummy, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Though ruined, it is one of the most extensive castles of 13th century date to survive in eastern Scotland, and was the seat of the Earls of Mar.

The castle was likely built in the mid-13th century under Gilbert de Moravia. It has been posited that siting of Kildrummy Castle was influenced by the location of the Grampian Mounth trackway crossings, particularly the Elsick Mounth and Cryne Corse Mounth.  Kildrummy Castle underwent siege numerous times in its history, first in defence of the family of Robert the Bruce in August-September 1306 (leading to the executions of Nigel Bruce and many other Scots), and again in 1335 by David of Strathbogie. On this occasion Christina Bruce held off the attackers until her husband Sir Andrew Moray came to her rescue.  In the reign of David II, Walter Maule of Panmure was warden of Kildrummy Castle.


Gwrych Castle

Local history claims that the first castle at Gwrych was built by the Normans in the 12th century. It was seized by the Welsh prince Rhys ap Gruffydd (the Lord Rhys) of Deheubarth in about 1170 who then rebuilt the timber castle in stone. This castle was later destroyed by Cromwell's army following the English Civil War of the mid-17th century.  Gwrych Castle was erected between 1819 and 1825 at the behest of Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh, grandfather of Winifred Cochrane, Countess of Dundonald. From 1894 until 1924, when the Countess died, it was the residence of the Dundonald family. The Countess left the castle in her will to King George V and the then Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VIII). However, the gift was refused and the castle passed to the Venerable Order of Saint John. In 1928, the Earl of Dundonald purchased the castle for £78,000, selling the contents to meet the cost.


Auchindoun Castle

Auchindoun Castle is believed to have been built by Robert Cochrane (sometimes referred to as Thomas erroniously). This shadowy, late 15th-century figure was a favourite of King James III. It is said that Cochrane built the great hall at Stirling Castle for James and was made earl of Mar in return, but neither claim is independently supported. All we do know is that Cochrane was hanged from Lauder Bridge in 1482 during a plot by James’s nobles to undo the king.
The earliest reference to Auchindoun is in 1509, when Sir Alexander Ogilvy of Deskford granted ‘the mains of Auchindoun, with its castle, fortalice and castle hill’ to his nephew, Alexander. In 1567 the Ogilvys sold the castle to Sir Adam Gordon, a kinsman of the 4th Earl of Huntly. Gordon’s claim to fame was murdering all the occupants of Corgarff Castle, over the hills in Strathdon, during a bitter feud in 1571. Apparently, Auchindoun itself was attacked and burnt by William Mackintosh in revenge – as a result he was beheaded by the Countess of Huntly’s cook. The castle later returned to the Ogilvys, but by 1725 it was derelict.


Auchans House

Auchans Castle, House, House of Auchans or Old Auchans, is a mock military mansion, Category A listed, T-plan building of a late 16th century date converted to the L-plan during the early-to-mid-17th century; its ruins stand about 1 km W of Dundonald, South Ayrshire, Scotland. Parish of Dundonald. It was held at various times by the Wallace, Cochrane and Montgomerie families.  McKean refers to Auchans as being amongst Scotland's principal châteauxs.  In 1527 the estate of Achynche (Auchans) was first held by the Wallaces of Dundonald. Colonel James Wallace was the last of that family to occupy the castle; he was an active supporter of the Solemn league and Covenant and lead the rising at Pentland in November 1666. He died in exile in Rotterdam in 1678. His family were a branch of the Wallaces of Craigie. In 1640 the estate passed to his relative Sir William Cochrane of Cowdon, an arrangement carried out prior to Colonel Wallace's participation in the insurrection.  Sir William also suffered during the Civil War, but after the restoration of the monarchy he was created Earl of Dundonald in 1669 for his services to the Crown.


 Purportedly designed by Sir Robert Cochrane, Earl of Mar during the reign of James IV.  The Great Hall was built by James IV around 1503. It was part of a huge building programme at the castle designed to provide a setting for major royal gatherings, in part to impress his new queen, Margaret Tudor.   The Great Hall was by far the largest banqueting hall ever built in medieval Scotland. Two high windows lit the dais – the platform on which the king and queen sat. Five enormous fireplaces provided heating. A hammerbeam roof soared above.

Great Hall Stirling Castle 


 Culross was the boyhood home of Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald.  It was here that he developed his love of the ocean and grew into manhood.  The statue pictured was erected by Culross to commerate the man called "greatest naval hero".

Culross Admiral Cochrane Statue

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