In 1815, General Keith Macalister, son of Ranald Macalister of Glenbarr and owner of Torrisdale Estate, began the construction of Torrisdale Castle.
He employed the services of James Gillespie Graham, one of Scotland’s most famous architects, known for his country houses and churches in the Scottish Gothic style.
The castle was constructed from sandstone quarried in Wigtownshire and extended to three storeys, the basement sunk with the east elevation enjoying views to Arran and a turreted entrance porch providing access to the main accommodation on the first floor.
General Macalister died in 1820 and the estate passed to a member of his family, Alexander Macalister. Alexander built many of the buildings present on the estate today and in around the year 1850, the population of the estate extended to around 130 people – fishermen, crofters, household staff, foresters and gardeners to name but a few.
The estate was subsequently acquired by Colonel Buchanan who owned the adjoining Carradale Estate. In 1872, Buchanan leased the castle and the estate to businessman Peter Hall who had made his fortune overseas with the British India Steam Navigation Company. Peter’s eldest son, William Macalister Hall, later purchased the estate.
The castle was extended to the north and the south in 1903 and 1908 respectively by William (pictured below with his 4 sons), to form the present building. For many years thereafter the estate’s economy was driven by agriculture, forestry and fishing, until the estate diversified into tourism.
The former servants quarters in the ground floor of the castle were converted into apartments in the mid-80s and a further four houses and cottages on the estate were also adapted for holiday acommodation.
Since then, the castle flats were adapted further to create the Servants’ Quarters apartment and two of the original holiday cottages have been retained whilst the others are on long-term let or have been sold.