Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Girgenti Tower

This tower is to be found at Girgenti farm in Ayrshire - visible from miles around, even from the Ayrshire coast. It used to have a spire on top of it.

Captain John Cheap(e) built his eccentric mansion house at Bonnyton (as Girgenti was originally known) with plantations, shrubberies, a walled garden and the tower.

[Girgenti was a town in Sicily 'named' for the famous ancient Greek ruins of Agrigentum. The name of the town has been changed to Agrigento.]

There are many stories associated with it, but the most likely seems to be that Captain Cheape believed in reincarnation and, being sure he would return as a bird, built a large tower, with a dovecote on top. It was finished in 1843, is 80 feet tall, has four clock faces, a coat of arms and a motto - Didus Fructus (Let it spread its fruit abroad).

A more fanciful tale is that Captain Cheape was in league with smugglers and would light a lamp in the top of the tower when he knew the coast was clear.

The mansion was demolished in the early 20th Century, but there are also stories of Glasgow alcoholics being brought down to be immured in the extensive cellars of the mansion until they had 'dried out'.


Jackie said...

What a fascinating history! (I thought the smuggling story sounded more plausible myself, but what do I know?!).

Did you mean that the spire was on top of the tower? Now that would look odd!

Sorlil said...

how interesting, shame about that metal thing next to it, just a bit out of place.

An Honest Man said...

jackie, the top has been capped. The metal spire (more of a large spike really) was on top of it.

sorlil, in fact the tower is actually out-of-place now, it's just modest farm buildings beside it - no trace of the mansion.