For more than four hundred years the Muirs of Rowallan created a castellated country seat by the Carmel Water in Ayrshire, which bears witness to the architectural aspirations of each successive lord. The Muirs were well aware of the deeply rooted symbolic importance of choosing this attractive and well watered location. Within only three generations, lairds who might have expected to die in battle for their king, had been transformed into musicians and poets enjoying the good life of James VI’s Great Britain.
The latest chapter of Rowallan’s long history has been as a property in the care of Historic Scotland, and this volume lays out the results of a decade of archaeological and documentary research to achieve a better understanding of the site. This complex story begins with its use as a place of burial for Bronze Age farmers, and ends with the construction of a palace in miniature modelled on those of their Stewart kings, to which the Muirs were related by marriage and mistresses. These investigations have revealed something of the lives of the middle rank of Scots nobility, of which we know little, and yet upon whom the kings relied so much, as expressed through a unique survivor of a lairdly house.