St John's Town of Dalry
NGR - NX 612840
Earlstoun Castle (private) is located north of Dalry, by the side of Earlstoun Loch.
Earlstoun Castle was the ancestral home of a branch of the Gordon family. William Gordon of Earlstoun (1614-79) was fined for his support of the Covenanters and in 1664 was banished abroad as a punishment. His wife, who was pregnant at the time, was put out of the castle which was then used by the redcoats as a garrison. It is known that from 43 families living in Dalry parish they extracted £9,577 Scots (about £800 Sterling) in fines. William Gordon was able to return to Scotland where he still supported the Covenanters. He was making his way towards Bothwell Bridge on 22 June 1679 when he was met by dragoons near to Crookedstone farm in Hamilton parish and shot. Requests to allow him burial in Dalry were refused, so his grave can be seen at Glassford kirkyard in Lanarkshire (NS 731470). This remained uninscribed until 1772.
William's son, Alexander, had taken part in the Battle of Bothwell Bridge, after which he went into exile in the Netherlands. He later returned to Scotland and lived in a makeshift shelter near to his home. He was noted for his strength and gained the nickname, the 'Bull of Earlstoun'. He was eventually captured and tried in Edinburgh and sentenced to die at the Cross in Edinburgh on 28 August 1683 but reprieved. However, he remained in prison in Edinburgh Castle, Bass Rock and Blackness Castle until January 1689.
Alexander's wife, Janet, suffered during her husband's imprisonment. She had to live in a temporary shelter by the side of the Garple Burn, known as Jean's Wa's, and a carved inscription on the rocks survives. She also spent time on the Bass Rock and died in 1696.