Hunterston Castle, the seat of the Chief of Clan Hunter for over 900 years
Hunter of Abbotshill and Barjarg Abbotshill (Ayrshire). With the exception of a few of the farm buildings, nothing now remains of the old house at Abbotshill, once a seat of the Hunter family.
The lands of Abbotshill, situated about four miles south of the town of Ayr, originally formed a part of the possessions of Crossraguel Abbey, in Ayrshire. They were acquired by James Hunter from Alan Stewart, Abbot of Crossraguel, by a charter dated May 9, I569.
The last of the family to reside here was the Rev. Andrew Hunter, D.D., who sold the property in 1772, and purchased Barjarg Tower in Dumfriesshire.
Barjarg is an old Border tower, or keep, near the banks of the river Nith, in the parish of Keir, about three miles from Auldgirth. It formerly belonged to the Earl of Morton, from whom it was acquired by Thomas Grierson, under date April 27, I587, and confirmed by King JamesVI., August 1, I589, and among other lands that of Parkjarg (Barjarg) in the lordship of Keir.
He married Helen Crichton, and had three sons. This Thomas Grierson was alive in 1630. Towards the end of the seventeenth century one of the Griersons was married to Charles Erskine, afterwards. Lord justice Clerk, and he purchased the estate of Tinwald, and on his appointment as a Lord of Session, in I742, he assumed the title of Lord Tinwald. He planted many of the trees now at Barjarg, and notably a fine silver fir at the back of the house, which came from Tinwald in I731. In 1836 this tree was 91 feet in height, but has not apparently increased much since. Not far from the house the finest oak in Dumfriesshire is to be found. On the death of his father-in-law, Lord Tinwald succeeded to the estate of Barjarg, and took up his residence there. He was the third son of Sir Charles Erskine, of Alva, fourth son of John, eighth Earl of Mar. In I748 he purchased his paternal estate of Alva, and died April 5, 1763. His only surviving son, James Erskine, succeeded to the estate of Barjarg, and which he sold to the Rev. Andrew Hunter, D.D., of Abbotshill, Ayrshire, in 1772 On Mr. Erskine being appointed a Lord of Session in 1761 he took the title of Lord Barjarg, which he afterwards changed to Alva. He died in I796.
Above a doorway in front of the house is carved on a stone, removed, however, from its original position, the following: