Millionaire selling castle that cost £6.5m for £3.9m


A MILLIONAIRE entrepreneur has been forced to sell her Scottish castle for £2.6m less than it cost her to buy and refurbish.

Kate Armstrong – the Australian founder of price comparison site – bought Cassillis House in 2009 for £3m.

The 112 room property – set in 300 acres of the Ayrshire countryside – was in a state of disrepair when Mrs Armstrong bought it, and she spent four years and a further £3.5m renovating it in a labour of love.

Now the castle is on the market for £3.9m – a staggering £2.6m less than what it cost to buy and renovate it.

The castle – parts of which date back to the 15th century – was originally put on sale for £5m in 2014, making it one of the most expensive properties in Scotland.

The castle's fairytale exterior
The castle’s fairytale exterior

But it seems that its 13 bedrooms, ballroom and private cinema were not enough to attract the right buyer.

Now a further £1.1m has been knocked off the asking price in a bid to find a house hunter to take it off her hands.

Mrs Armstrong has previously said that the low asking price is designed to attract a quick buyer who will take food care of the estate, near Maybole.

Her four-year project to give the estate a facelift was featured in 2013 on the BBC2 programme Restoration Home.

As a result of sitting uninhabited for many years the castle had a number of pricey problems – with a rotting roof and damaged ornate design work.

Mrs Armstrong also got permission from Historic Scotland to paint the castle yellow – the colour it would have originally been.

Since the mammoth project has been completed the house features 13 pristine bedrooms – seven of which are en suite.

The home comes with a library
The home comes with a library

In addition it boasts a ballroom, library, wine cellar, cinema room and space for a gym.

The castle also has an original spiral staircase from the castle’s 15th century keep – built clockwise so that a right-handed swordsman could defend his higher ground from an onslaught of enemies.

It also features portcullis doors and a number of circular turrets, and the sale will also include four other properties on the estate – one of which is a five-bed coach house.

Savills property agent Evelyn Channing – describing the house as it went on the market in 2014 – said: “Someone has gone through the pain of a complete restoration and it’s now ready for 21st century living.

“Normally there is some sort of project but this is ready to go, and it has such amazing history.

“Many ancient interesting features have been retained such as the tower and a bedroom that was discovered when they pulled away some of the plaster.

“It is on the market for less than what [Mrs Armstrong] has 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.”

The castle has been brought into the 21st century - at great cost
The castle has been brought into the 21st century – at great cost

Cassillis was built between 1404 and 1454.

It was owned by the Kennedy family from the 15th century until 2009 – when the last living descendant Mary, Marchioness of Ailsa, died.

But the estate has a dark past that is peppered with morbid details.

David Kennedy – the 1st Earl of Cassillis – was killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513.

The second Earl was murdered during an unsuccessful attempt to rescue James V.

The third Earl was poisoned in France when he travelled there for the wedding of Mary, Queen of Scots.