Thursday, February 22, 2024

Confusing a castle founder puts castle on market for £1.5 million less than she spent on it


“Wild haired” Kate Armstrong, the Australian founder of, bought the medieval Scottish castle Cassillis House in Ayrshire from the Kennedy clan in 2009 for £3 million. She spent four years and £3.5 million updating and improving it but is now selling it at a loss for just £5 million.


Cassillis House
Cassillis House
Kate Armstrong
Kate Armstrong


Situated 42 miles from Glasgow, the Category A listed 15,662 square foot castle has been brought into the 21st century and now includes a ballroom, 3 reception rooms, a library, a cinema and 13 bedrooms. The renovation of the 112 room building was tracked and featured in an episode of the BBC documentary Restoration Homes and has been completed to a commercial specification. At the time, Mrs Armstrong commented:


“Painting the exterior was an expensive task, we got through hundreds of litres of paint and the scaffolding alone cost £40,000… It has been a labour of love, but I’ve loved every minute of it. Now I have the grand Scottish castle I dreamed of when I was a little girl”.

The grand entrance to the castle
The grand entrance to the castle
One of many impressive reception rooms
One of many impressive reception rooms
There is also a cinema complete with tartan carpeting
There is also a cinema complete with tartan carpeting
The renovation has been completed to a very high standard
The renovation has been completed to a very high standard


Also included in the sale price is a 5-bedroomed converted coach house, 4 cottages, 309 acres of land and 1.8 miles of salmon and trout fishing on the River Doon.


The selling agent, Evelyn Channing of Savills, commented:


“It is on the market for less than what [Mrs Armstrong and her husband] spent on it. She is not asking for all her money back. She is more concerned about making sure the castle is being looked after”.


Armstrong shared in a £21 million windfall when was sold to The Admiral Group. Cassillis House, however, was certainly not one of her better investments.



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    1. What a wonderful lady.
      As a Kennedy descendent living in Australia I think it was the best thing that someone could afford the restoration and done it. even if she lost money .it is restored hopefully for a few hundred more years.Good on ya Kate

    2. Stay in Australia with your dreams and let the castle belong to Scotland. Historic Scotland can look after the property funded by visitors.
      Kate Armstrong evicted people from the land at casillas house. Back to Australia where you belong. She really is!!!

      • To “historic Scotland” – what a cruel and vicious comment. If that was how Ms. Armstrong was treated while she was there, it is no wonder that she didn’t stay and live in the castle of her dreams. For YEARS she supplied millions of dollars in revenue for the local economy just simply by hiring local tradesman. She has restored a part of Scottish history that was literally falling down, and yet all you can say is words of hate. By the way, as a new OWNER of the property, she gets to choose who lives there. Why would THAT be difficult to understand? This would be true of any property. Get down off of your cross, someone needs the wood.

      • Hiding behind a name of “historic scotland” is what cowards do…and then throwing out terrible, hurtful comments like that just shows how uneducated you really are! She has put millions of pounds, out of her own pocket into the economy, to restore it to it’s well deserved glory. Something that the Government wasn’t going to do…I really admire you Kate. It took someone from the colonies to fix a castle in Scotland. Well done!

      • If you are a Scotsman with that kind of money then you should have bid to buy it. White Australians are British genetically so what is your point?

    3. Hi Kate, open it as a bespoke hotel and wedding venue, similar to the hotel in Balmoral, bought and restored by Swiss art collectors couple, to good not to use, sad its empty

      • In Reply to Frank Bonfanti – I agree. This is an excellent idea. And if she is unable to actually live there, for whatever reason, She could hire a management company to utilize it. My guess is that with so much custom work, like the carpets, she is afraid to allow anyone to use it. I can understand that. But perhaps she could rent out the grounds with the other buildings that have been refurbished, and have weddings and the like on the grounds.

    4. I think it’s wonderful how you poured all your time and money into this castle. I hope and pray that someone buys it soon that will love it as much as you did through all the work and effort. May God bless you.

    5. I love Scotland, but no wonder Scotland always lost against the English. The people who dislike the new castle are snobs, she saved it! Kate is awesome, everyone else is jealous. Awa’ n bile yer heid!!!!!
      ~An American Rascal!

    6. Homelessness is a global issue and this decadent display of grotesque wealth wasted isn’t a proud moment for an Australian. In NSW in tourist areas like Circular Quay and the streets of historic Parramatta homelessness is so visible it’s a social disgrace. When is society going to value people instead of displays of egocentred wealth that mirrors a selfish view of success? Scotland has homeless people and with all that land and all those rooms isn’t it time the people, who are descended from the people the Kennedy’s took land from and battled with, got to enjoy their ancestral home: the land that they hold in common as part of their biological and cultural history. Royals everywhere are out of touch and spoilt. People build these overgrown costly heating monuments to themselves! Give the land and a home to the people who need it – turn it into a retirement home or permaculture the landscape and give value and integrity to people who struggle buying their groceries or putting a roof over their childrens’ heads!
      Ballrooms are torture traces: dance for the people outside! We all know castles and the wealthy conceal histories of murder, incest, rape, debauchery, slavery, theft, hypocrisy, religious corruption and treachery…Make it real, make it human and reconnect people with their integrity.

    7. All I know is it took guts to take on a restoration like that. She sold it at a loss but her main concern is that it will be well cared for. You have to give her props for that.


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