Mon Apr 06, 2020 London

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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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11 comments on “Confusing a castle”

  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!!!

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

  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

    1. 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 wonder why she is selling. She knew she would be spending time with her mother. You know sometimes you just like to play. I am going to see why but not in a judging manner, curious.

  6. Beautiful restoration. I watched it restored on BBC. I love the History and romanticize over the people who lived in castles, the ups and downs, the wars and takeovers. Kate, you did a fantastic job and made people like me happy to see such beauty and history brought back to life.

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