A 16th-century residence
Carsluith Castle is typical of the L-shaped tower houses built throughout Scotland during the 1500s. It is possible the Brouns converted an earlier structure to the form we see today, though the evidence is far from convincing.
Earlier researchers believed that the present stair tower was an addition to an earlier structure, as it runs awkwardly into a window recess in the original building. But this ‘window’ was in fact the access to a projecting timber gallery.
This gallery would have been a particularly eye-catching feature. It is now gone, but its supporting corbels and a mark showing the line of its roof can still be seen.
The residence comprised:
- two stone-vaulted storage cellars on the ground floor
- a large hall occupying the entire first floor
- two further floors of private chambers
- an attic storey
Carsluith stayed with the Brouns until 1748, when James Broun, a London merchant, sold out to the Johnstons.
A famous son
Gilbert Broun, the last abbot of Sweetheart Abbey, may have been born at Carsluith. He took his Holy Orders when the Scottish Church was in crisis, and was abbot at Sweetheart during the Protestant Reformation of 1560.
Broun fortified his abbey and continued celebrating Catholic Mass there despite opposition from the government and the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In 1609, a search of his house in the town of New Abbey revealed a cache of ‘popish trash’. This was destroyed, and Broun was forced into exile. He eventually died in Paris.