Material from the collection of artist Elizabeth Joy Steele
This website will be the basis for an online database of photographs and documents about
the history of Kilbirnie. Items will be added over the coming months and years to provide a
comprehensive documentation of Kilbirnie's heritage. Most of the material will come from
the collection of artist Elizabeth Joy Steele, but other sources will be sought for information.
Please contact Adam McLean firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to share material, provide
better descriptions or correct errors.
Place Castle Kilbirnie destroyed by fire
Details of the story of the destruction by fire of Kilbirnie Place in 1757. The Earl of Crawfurd never rebuilt the castle and manor house although it was used as a hunting lodge. The earl and his family moved to Bourtreehill House in Irvine.
Set within the main fireplace of the keep are two red sandstone carved pieces with Gothic script. One may read 'Maria' and the other with smaller script has not been deciphered. Sandstone pillars on either side of this fireplace carry carvings of climbing plants that may be ivy. One suggestion regarding the Gothic script carvings in the fireplace is that they could be the names of saints and that this was a religious 'Apotropaic' protective device to prevent the ingress of evil spirits into the house through an otherwise 'unprotected' entry point. The Puritans acted against images of the Virgin Mary however a widespread use of her name or more usually initials continued.