Marks of Time
Spent Christmas near Stranraer. This is the tower house in the centre of the town- the Castle of St John. Built around 1520 by the Adair of Kinhilt family, it is described as good example of an ‘L shaped tower house’ with a spiral star in the narrow projecting return. It originally funcioned as the administrative centre for the Adair territory; and this encouraged the settlement around it. As in many such buildings there are two vaulted chambers at ground level and a large vaulted hall above. Smaller chambers above would have been the original lord’s bedroom and private rooms. An extra floor above the string couse was added in the seventeenth century. The remains of a typically scottish bartizan can be seen at the opposite end of this string course from the return. In the nineteenth century the two upper floors became a gaol and the building became hemmed in by other stuctrures. Surrounding buildings were cleared forming the current square in the late 1980′s. Its an interesting tower that dominates its town square convincingly - much like the castle of Ballycastle must once have done. It now functions as a museum. Its a good idea to look at it and contemplate its long history from the very good coffee shop opposite.
Marks of Time
Sketches of buildings in the North West of Ireland and further afield with a little information about their history.