is probably the oldest building in Carrick, and dates back as far as the twelfth
century-perhaps earlier. It was the seat of the ancient Earls of Carrick, one of
whom founded the Abbey of
Crossraguel, and another of whom became King of
Scotland. Whether the great Robert the Bruce
was born here or at Loch Maben, is
an unsettled point, seeing all documentary evidence is lost, but the balance of
probability is in favour of Turnberry.
was the home of his mother, and therefore likely, under the peculiar
circumstances of her marriage, to have been the birth-place of her eldest boy.
The fact, too, that Bruce made the seizure of Turnberry the first step in that
grand series of efforts which ended with Bannockburn, points to his early
connection with it. While the trust he reposed in his Carrick men, and the care
he afterwards showed for the building itself, as well as those wide lands of
which Turnberry was then the centre-all point towards this old
having a right to be regarded as sacred ground by every Scotsman. Bruce was born
21st March, 1274.
are only two outstanding historical events connected with Turnberry. The first
was a meeting of the Scottish nobles held here in 1286, to take steps towards
promoting Bruce's claim to the Scottish throne. And the second was the
above-mentioned attempt made by Bruce in the spring of 1307, to recover the
Castle from the English into whose hands it had fallen. This attempt was only
partially successful, although ultimately it led to the withdrawal of the
is very little of the old building left now. Still it is interesting to mark the
ditch which defended the castle on the landward side, and to put one's fingers
into the groove of the old portcullis which in those days did duty for a gate,
and to scramble down into the cave which leads out into the sea, and which must
have served the castle inmates as a harbour. A modern Lighthouse now occupies
the place where once armed warriors marched, and watchful sentries stood. But it
needs little effort of imagination to people the spot again with all its martial
life, even to the little toddling steps of him who was one day to become
Scotland's greatest king.
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