MacLellan’s Castle is named after its original owner, Sir Thomas MacLellan of Bombie, Provost of Kirkcudbright. He began to build his castle on the site of the convent of Greyfriars, having acquired the land and buildings following the Protestant Reformation in 1560.
By 1582, the castle was complete enough for Sir Thomas to move in. Five years later, he and his second wife, Grissel, entertained James VI in their spacious townhouse.
After the couple’s death, the family’s prosperity waned as they ran up huge debts, chiefly through their part in the Plantation of Ulster – a scheme to settle Protestants in the north of Ireland.
By 1742, Sir Thomas’s descendant, William MacLellan, Lord Kirkcudbright, was working as a glove maker in Edinburgh. The family home was stripped of its roof and emptied of its contents. The neglected ruin came into state care in 1912.