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The castle at Portencross dates to the 14th Century and is thought to have been used by the Scottish Kings as a halfway house between Dundonald and Rothsay. There is a story that Robert the Bruce stayed here.

The castle overlooks a tiny harbour with room enough for a small boat, and consists of a 3 story keep with a 4 story Eastern wing. The castle was a stronghold of the Rosses and then the Boyd family.

It was used to house French prisoners of war in the early 18th century until the roof was destroyed during a storm in 1739, after which it became a ruin. The castle has undergone some restoration recently.

The Spanish Galleon
Local lore suggests that there is a wrecked Spanish Galleon somewhere beneath the waves not far from where the castle stands. The Galleon was one of the ships from the Armada of 1588 that had escaped by sailing through the North Sea and around the coast of Scotland, only to sink in bad weather just of the coast here. In one local story it was lured onto the coast by wreckers, who plundered the Spanish gold and hid it somewhere in the area

A cannon from such a ship was allegedly discovered in 1740 adding some evidence for the story, and Spanish coins have also been discovered. However, the location of the ship and its burden of riches is still to be discovered, and the coast is a popular diving location for would be treasure hunters.

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Daniel Parkinson

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There are many...

... stories of sunken ships from the Armada carrying fantastic treasures in the British Isles. While it's sure that many ships were lost while trying to find their way home the treasures are most likely more imaginary than real. The popular rich Spanish galleon, ladden with silver and gold, was only to be found in the treasure fleets coming home from Cuba after gathering the riches of the New World for the spendthrift Spanish kings.
My personal opinion is that these legends are most likely the product of people from such remote and (at the time) poor areas being impressed by the Spaniards' relative wealth or come from a later era when "treasure hunting" became a popular idea.

In Distortion We Trust

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Daniel Parkinson
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I would agree with that, the

I would agree with that, the allure of hidden gold creates its own legends: Eldorado, Nazi gold etc. But then finding one of these wrecks would probably make quite a big story and be historically a great find although it is doubtfull there would be much left(although gold would survive!). The story from Portencross seems to be quite old and probably worth deeper research.

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A Spanish galleon, named

A Spanish galleon, named Duque de Florencia or San Juan de Sicilia, blew up  in Tobermory Bay, Isle of Mull. According to documents it was destroyed by an English spy slipping on board and setting fire to the powder magazine. A number of artifacts recovered in the area (cannons, ballast etc) confirms a Spanish ship sunk there but no trace of treasure was ever found. Yet the legend of "Spanish gold" lives on.
A Spanish galley, named La Girona, was shipwrecked in County Antrim with great loss of life, in the locality now called Port Na Spaniagh for obvious reasons. Most of items recovered are now in the Northern Ireland National Museum. Legends about a fabolous treasure were found to be partially true when hundreds of gold coins and numerous jewels were were found by diver Robert Stenuit and his friends.

In Distortion We Trust



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