Dean Castle is situated in the Dean Castle Country Park in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland. It was the stronghold for the Boyd Family, who were lords of Kilmarnock for over 400 years. The Castle takes its name from ‘The Dean’ or wooded valley, a common place name in Scotland. However, until about 1700 it was called Kilmarnock Castle. Owned originally by the Boyd family, it has strong historical connections with many people and events famous in Scottish history. Robert the Bruce who gave the Boyds these lands; James III of Scotland whose sister married a Boyd; the Covenanters, some of whom were imprisoned here; Bonnie Prince Charlie, whose rebellion was joined by the 4th Earl of Kilmarnock and Robert Burns who was encouraged to publish his poetry by the Earl of Glencairn who owned the Castle at that time. - Wikipedia
The present castle stands on land where evidence suggests there was a hill fort. It is thought that a mixture of large timber-built roundhouse and straight-sided structures occupied the interior. A timber-laced stone rampart defined and defended the fort. The timber lacing caught fire and burnt with such intensity that the surrounding stonework melted, or vitrified. This firing happened about 1000 AD and seems to mark the end of the hill-fort’s existence. It was about this date that the British Kingdom of Strathclyde ceased to exist, being absorbed into the Kingdom of Scotland. The place name Dundonald means "fort of Donald". It appears to be derived from the British *Din Dyfnwal (the British personal name Dyfnwal is cognate to the Scottish Gaelic Dòmhnall and English Donald). The eponym of the fortress is unknown, although he may have been any of the numerous kings of Alt Clut/Strathclyde who bore the name Dyfnwal from the eighth century to the tenth century. - Wikipedia
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