A Fourteenth Century Castle Rescued From Ruin

Steve Reid-Timoney and his wife, Alison, have invested £9 million restoring Crossbasket Castle in Blantyre, near Glasgow in Scotland, to its former glory. The couple bought the 14th century castle in 2011, a year after it was listed on Scotland’s Buildings At Risk Register. Alison said "When we purchased it, vandals had damaged the roof and interiors; it was leaking water and the walls were starting to deteriorate. Since then we have painstakingly restored it with a focus on using craftsmen to reinstate original features."

External works included complete re-roofing, the reinstatement of all the windows, with double glazed units designed to match the originals, and removal of the rough-cast render to reveal the original stonework. Timber lintels, which had rotted, were also removed.

The previous render was added in order to prevent water ingress, but actually trapped the water in, making the problem worse. This however was something that had revealed the stunning original stonework and exposed many original features concealed under the render, including more windows which had been bricked up and were re-instated, as well as arches and stone Celtic cross details.

A further element of the project included the construction of a grand ballroom to accommodate 250 guests. The portal steel framed building features a stone facade and a cantilevered balcony on the west wing overlooking dramatic waterfalls on the river Calder. This has sympathetically added a great space to the property, still retaining the feel of the older building.

Crossbaskets history goes back over 600 years; John Lindsay of Dunrod had been granted the lands of Kilbride by Robert the Bruce in 1382. The estate had been forfeited by the Comyns, who had fought against the King. Crossbasket remained in the hands of the Lindsays until the beginning of the seventeenth century, when the extravagance of Alexander of Dunrod ruined the family and the estates.

Crossbasket House has been home to many notable families. During the 19th century it was home to Scotland's famous inventor and raincoat manufacturer, Charles MacIntosh (1766–1843). Charles MacIntosh was the celebrated inventor of waterproof cloth, used in the manufacture of raincoats. Many of his experiments involved dyes and the mill on the River Calder at the rear of the house was originally constructed as a dye mill.

The merchant Thomas Dunlop Findlay owned the property from just after World War 1 until 1932 when it was sold to James Little, who subsequently donated the castle to Dr Barnardo's Homes around 1945. In the 1960s the James Little College was established at Crossbasket as a further education centre in Scotland.

In 1981 the castle was sold to the Latter Rain Ministries, who ran the property as the Crossbasket Christian Centre until 2005. It was then sold to a developer with plans to turn the building into a series of apartments. After the developer went into administration, the building lay empty and near derelict until 2011 when the current restoration programme was funded and began.

Now you can stay here and be treated to the utmost in luxury, in the wonderful setting of this castle near Glasgow.

Nine bedrooms, ranging from cosy doubles to grand suites, some with fireplaces, give you a sense of comfort and well-being with classical décor, luxurious comfortable beds, offering large windows overlooking the grounds. Antique chandeliers, exceptional quality fittings and attention to fine details catch the eye. Spacious marble tiled bathrooms have walk-in showers, and some feature stand-alone baths. The bridal suite spans four floors; no other hotel suite in Scotland spreads over 4 floors!

Lunch and dinner menus, overseen by renowned French chef Albert Roux and his son Michel Roux Junior, will tantalise your palate. Check out the Loch Awe sea trout with smoked kelp consommé. For the wine connoisseurs, you will enjoy a list of over 100 fine wine, and the bar boasts over 70 whiskies. 

The castle is both family-friendly and offers good access for guests with disabilities, with a ramp and lift access on all floors. Disabled toilets and walk-in showers are also available.

With easy access from Glasgow and giving great access to the West Coast of Scotland and the Isles, this is a great starting/finishing point for a tour of Scotland.


Castles available to book through Celtic Castles