Club History

David Hunter, the well known Dailly historian, for whom the kingdom of Carrick has no secrets, was kind enough to tell us all he knew about Brunston Castle and Bargany.

Brunston Castle Golf Club

Brunston Castle Golf Club Brunston Castle
Golf Club

Superb 18-hole golf course in Dailly, Ayrshire, Scotland

"Cracking course which is very well laid out...some lovely signature holes."

Colin Forrest

"Beautiful countryside, great reception from the staff, challenging course..."

Hilary Denholm

"Lovely countryside and great value."

Jim Harvey

"Brilliant. A real challenge. Staff really friendly."

John Macdonald

"Superb course and facilities! Tough track and would recommend to all golfers!"

David Clark

Brunston Castle

Brunston Castle with it’s Golf and Country Club can be found in the Parish of Dailly in that part of Ayrshire known as Carrick District.

The Castle and it’s policies lie entirely in the valley of the River Girvan and occupy both banks of the river. The castle, now a ruin and all of the buildings associated with the Golf and Country Club are on the right bank of the river and running parallel with the river on it’s left bank is the ancient track leading from Straiton to Girvan.

Brunston Castle was built on a mound overlooking the river which protected it on one side. The three other sides were protected by a moat. The first recorded owner of Brunston was James Kennedy {1534-1542}. He was Bailie of Carrick and the younger brother of William Kennedy, Abbot of Crossraguel and their father was David, first Earl of Cassillis who served as a Privy Councillor to James IV and was like several other local Lairds, killed in the Battle of Floddan.

The Macdougall's

Until 1186 A.D. Carrick formed part of the Lordship of Galloway and in that year the Lordship was divided up between Roland and Duncan, grandsons of Fergus Macdougall, the most famous of all the Lords of Galloway. Duncan became the first Lord and later in 1225, Earl of Carrick, a title which has been held by several families to the present holder H.R.H. Prince Charles.

Although the title Earl of Carrick is associated with the Crown, the principle power of in Carrick has always been vested in the Kennedy Clan and Gilbert Kennedy, the fourth Earl of Cassillis styled himself, ‘King of Carrick’. The two main branches of the family were Cassillis and Bargany, both of whom were descended from John Kennedy of Dunure. From 1380 until 1631 both branches of the Kennedies held the country in turmoil and fear whilst they fought each other over the question of seniority. To make matters worse, most of the large and even lesser properties were held by one or other of the two branches and in several cases due to intermarriage, by both.

During the time of Duncan Macdougall, the first Earl of Carrick, a church, dedicated to saint Michael, was built at Dalmaolkerran the ancient name given to the Parish of Dailly. This church was to remain the centre of the Parish until 1690 until it was replaced by another built at Milncavish by Lord Bargany, and around it the new village of Dailly grew up.

Laird of Brunston

It was either James the first Laird of Brunston or his successor who was involved in the plan to marry Mary, the young Princess of Scotland to Edward, son of Henry VIII and whilst the Laird of Brunston was conveying letters between England and Henry’s party in Scotland, he was driven ashore at Bamburh near to Berwick – upon – Tweed and the letters were taken from him. Little is known about the Brunston family and they do not appear to have exisited for any length of time. William Kennedy, also Bailie of Carrick was the last of the family and he married his cousin Elizabeth Kennedy the daughter of Alexander Kennedy of Bargany and Ardstinchar who in 1528 along with his sons Hugh and Thomas and accompanied by seventy-two others were charged with the slaughter of several people including Robert Campbell in Lochfergus.

Elizabeth Kennedy had been married twice before she became the lady of Brunston and each time she had married a cousin. Due to her dark complection she was named Black Bessie.

Her third husband William of Brunston was benefactor to the Monks of Crossraguel and assisted them in times of trouble and on one occasion had given them 1000 Merks for repair of the Abbey. As a result of this, Alan Stewart, Commendator of Crossraguel who was roasted in the Black Vault of Dunure Castle by the Earl of Cassillis, granted a charter to William for the Lands of Mains of Brunston, formerly named Nether Dalquharran, with its manor-place, fortalice, orchards, stallages or brewlands, coalheuchs and coalpots, quarries, woods and groves. The Charter also included the lands of Quarrel hill and Glenmard. Kilgrammie coal field was also part of Brunston Estate and it was only at the beginning of the last century that the name Kilgrammie was applied to it. Prior to this it was known as Brunston coal field.

The Nether Dalquharran gifted by the Monks of Crossraguel to William of Brunston was in the area of Lochmoddie Glen and the old ruined tower where Black Bessie placed her son by one of her previous marriges still stands close to the Old Dailly Railway station.

William of Brunston

Before his death William of Brunston made over his property to his wife Black Bessie. He had, however, made similar arrangements in favour of Gilbert the Earl of Cassillis who in turn had made provision for Brunston to pass to his wife on the death of Gilbert the Lady of Cassillis married to the Marquis of Hamilton. When William of Brunston died the Marquis of Hamilton questioned the right of Black Bessie to the property and entered in process with her before the Lords of Session. Upon this Black Bessie made over right to her nephew the Laird of Bargany who then took possession of Brunston and in lieu he placed his aunt Bessie in Newark Castle.

The law-plea concering Brunston found in favour of the Marquis of Hamilton and Bargany was forced to move out. In 1601 when the young Gilbert Kennedy of Burgandy died of wounds he received in a battle outside Maybole against his cousin the Earl of Cassillis, the Bargany branch of the Kennedies ceased to exist and their estate was purchased by by Sir John Hamilton son of the first Marquis of Hamilton who later received the title Lord Bargany thus adding Bargany to the estate of Brunston.

There is no doubt that many missiles have been directed at Brunston Castle especially during the Kennedy fueds and even as recentas the Second World War it came under attack when Royal Naval Commandos stationed at the Grand Theatre in Girvan made their way up river and blew up part of Brunston Castle walls as part of their training for the invasion of Sicily.

On the lighter side, in 1457 a Scottish Statute was introduced which prohibited the game of golf as it interfered with archery practice. It would appear that golf was a popular pastime in those days and it is recorded that the Laird of Bargany had his nose smashed by a golf ball whilst playing on the hills at Ayr. Now that Brunston has once again become a property in its own right the only missiles to strike the old castle walls will be the odd stray golf ball and the Belgian born Laird of Brunston would be well advised to remember what happened to a former Laird of Bargany.