Ochiltree House circa 1900
Ochiltree House stood in the village of that name in Ayrshire. It is not to be confused with the Ochiltree in Lothian.
It was a plain building, 3 storeys high with crow stepped gables and a slate roof. Large and roomy it consisted of a vaulted block of the early 17th century to which a wing and stair tower were later added. These additions are visible in the photograph. There was no sign of defensive features. Dormer pediments had been built into outbuildings.
A survey in 1854 noted the remains of an old castle which lay to the side of the house:
'Attached to and occupying the east front of the mansion is a ruin, about 12ft high, divided into apartments. Its walls are about 6ft thick and part of an arched roof is still entire. It has the appearance of having been a castle of some strength. It must have been unoccupied for a long time as there are large trees growing within it. The house is in bad repair and becoming ruinous.'
During the First World War it was used as a hospital but by 1935 Tranter could write 'the house is empty and neglected and will soon become uninhabitable'. He was prophetic for by 1954 it was 'completely demolished and no trace remains except for overgrown foundations which do not rise above ground level.'
In 1973 even these scant remnants were removed when a modern house was built on the site.
Another part of our history that has unfortunately bitten the dust …