500-year-old Kilberry Castle in Scotland is on the market for $US885,106 ($AU1,201,464) (£650,000).
Current owner Charmian Campbell told the Evening Standard she and her husband John Campbell have lived in the 13,565-square-foot castle in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, since moving from London 30 years ago, and are ready to let go.
“The two of us are just rattling about in it, it’s time for us to go,” Charmian said.
In 1550, Clan Campbell took ownership of land in Kilberry, Scotland, which came with the castle. Ever since, their descendants have used it as a family home.
The castle is a short drive from the village of Kilberry in Argyll and Bute, and 99 miles (159km) away from Glasgow Airport.
According to a brochure put together by Knight Frank, the real-estate agency marketing the castle, the surrounding area is a hotspot for outdoor activities including fishing, diving, sailing, and mountain biking.
The castle burnt down in 1773 and lay in ruin until renovations were made in 1840.
It’s not the first time Kilberry Castle has caught fire. The date 1513, which is inscribed above the front door, corresponds to the year a pirate by the name of Captain Proby was said to have “attacked and burnt” the castle, according to the property brochure.
The castle survived and the original tower house remains almost exactly the same. The brochure adds that on top of the renovations made in 1940, further changes happened in 1873 when new spaces like the billiard room and the western wing were added.
Despite the changes made over the years, the castle still has a classic baronial-style aesthetic.
Perhaps the most famous baronial-style property is the Queen’s very own summer getaway, Balmoral Castle. The royal family’s official website notes that it was built in “the Scottish Baronial style.”
Current owner Charmian says the history of the castle is written on the walls.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Charmian said: “There’s plenty of stuff in the house which we haven’t changed because we haven’t had to — history is on the walls, it’s written in the house — there has been no reason to remove any of that.”
The fireplaces, which are dotted around most of the rooms in the castle, are windows into Kilberry’s past.
The two fireplaces located in the drawing room and library are built from custom-made Italian white marble. According to the brochure, they were bought by John Campbell the 10th and his wife while on honeymoon in Italy in 1871.
The original dining room is flooded with natural light, streaming in through large windows.
The dining room, which still houses an original open fireplace, has large windows which look out onto the woodland surrounding the property.
Having guests stay over won’t be an issue for new homeowners as the castle comes equipped with 14 bedrooms.
The floor plan of the main house outlines 10 principal bedrooms and four secondary bedrooms with further rooms down in the basement, once used as servant quarters.
Also found in the basement, detailed in the brochure, is a wine cellar, larder, and what was once the former housekeeper’s room.
Back upstairs, the history of Kilberry’s former residents is most visible.
Tom Stewart-Moore, who is marketing the castle with Knight Frank, told Insider about the story of young Archie Campbell, who lived in the castle in 1885. That year, the boy contracted scarlet fever and was forced into confinement for “several months” in a room on the top floor.
With just his nurse for company, young Archie kept himself entertained by papering the walls of the room with pages of the London Illustrated News.
To this day, one wall in the room on the top floor is still papered with Archie’s newspaper decoration. Outlined in the brochure, the story goes that Archie went on to survive his illness and later become a reputable High Court judge.
Sadly his sister, who also came down with a case of scarlet fever during the outbreak at Kilberry, succumbed to the disease. Her remains are still buried in the family mausoleum on the castle grounds.
Unfortunately, some of the rooms at Kilberry Castle have fallen into a state of disrepair.
“It does need someone with deep pockets to restore it to its former glory,” Stewart-Moore told Insider.
The conservatory “could be lovely,” he said. “It has got sort of a double height ceiling with light coming through the top of it — it would lend itself to becoming the wow factor kitchen.”
There are other perks to owning the castle, such as the on-site holiday cottage.
Named after its previous use as a Victorian laundry space, Laundry Cottage is currently let as a holiday home on a short-term basis. Stewart-Moore told Insider it’s essentially a “blank space” for new owners to do whatever they’d like.
Laundry Cottage, which comes with its very own garden area and views of Kilberry Bay, is located off the main driveway of the castle.
Laundry Cottage has coastal views of the Scottish islands of Islay and Jura, Gigha, as well as the Mull of Kintyre.
According to the floor plan, the cottage comes fully equipped with three bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, utility room, and dining space.
To add to the rich history of the property, Killberry Castle is also home to a collection of 26 medieval and early Christian gravestones.
The stones are said to come from a medieval parish church that the brochure describes as having burnt down in the 1640s. However, it adds that in the 1920s, human remains were discovered under the castle’s bowling green, leading to suspicions that the church is still buried beneath the grounds.
The early Christian and medieval stones, which are now in the care of Historic Scotland, are still housed on the property in a shelter at the top of the driveway.
A short walk from the castle through the woodland leads to the walled Victorian garden built in 1877.
The brochure says the walled garden was previously used to grow a variety of soft fruits, grapevines, and vegetables. It’s also home to a Victorian pet cemetery, found in the northeast corner of the garden. According to the BBC History Extra podcast, these graveyards for animals were quite commonplace in the 1880s.
Surrounding the garden is mature woodland with sycamore, lime, ash, and beech trees. Also on the grounds are three ancient fishing ponds, crossed by a stone bridge.
Kilberry Castle is just a 10-minute walk from secluded sandy beaches.
The brochure describes the bay of Kilberry as “safe” and “secluded.” The new owners of the castle will be able to take the 10-minute walk to the beach through the fields of the neighbors.
According to Knight Frank, Kilberry Castle is attracting “global interest” but will need someone willing to go the extra mile to make it a comfortable, modern home.
Stewart-Moore told Insider there’s been a lot of viewings from interested parties throughout the UK and abroad. Anyone interested in Kilberry Castle can also refer to the pre-filmed video tour of the property or contact Knight Frank to arrange alternative options. The closing date is currently set for July 29.
“I’ve seen plenty of castles before,” Stewart-Moore said, “but this is really charming. It’s going to be fascinating to see who buys it and what they do with it.”