Kennox House near Stewarton is the only Grade 1 Listed Building in the area, while the Gates and Lodge were also listed at one time. The name, however, is not a local name, as it was originally called Crivoch. The lands were bought around 1700 by John Somerville,who owned an estate in Lanarkshire called Kennox and he brought the name to this area. A daughter of the family married a McAlester and the surnames were combined to give us Somerville - McAlester, and this family owned the lands well into the 20th century.
The house passed through various hands, including Gregor Fisher, the noted Scottish actor, who started attempts to restore the house to its former glory.
It would seem that there have been people living in the area long before the building of Kennox House around 18?? There are two pieces of evidence of earlier habitation, the first being a very old yew tree, which would have to have been planted as it is not a native species to the area. It is believed to be around 700 - 800 years old. Even further back in time are the cup and ring markings to be found in the grounds. These are a form of prehistoric art, found at other locations in Ayrshire, including Ballochmyle and Dalgarven. They usually consist of a concave depression, no more than a few centimetres across, pecked into a rock surface and often surrounded by concentric circles also etched into the stone. Sometimes a linear channel called a gutter leads out from the middle. There real purpose is still a mystery - art, or worship perhaps?
Signature of James Somerville McAlester
Additional data - Date of origin - (Source - British Listed Buildings)
Predominantly mid 18th century in origin with substantial early 19th century additions and alterations (see Notes). Symmetrical 2-storey and attic, 3-bay classical house with earlier, lower, 2-storey and attic wing to rear, forming T-plan. Cream painted rubble with raised ashlar margins; raised quoins to wing. Raised basement, band course, eaves course and cornice. Pair of piended dormers.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: PRINCIPAL ELEVATION TO S:
Central double fore stair with decorative cast-iron balustrade leads to pedimented and Corinthian pilastered doorpiece with 2-leaf, 6-panel timber doors with segmental glazing pattern semi-circular fanlight above and with 2-leaf, metal diamond-pane internal door. Central Venetian window to 1st floor.
WING TO REAR (N): W elevation: central symmetrical 6-bay house with advanced 2-bay gabled central section and pair of piended roofed dormers. Single storey to N with later glass cupola and date inscribed 1762 to skewputt.
Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Graded grey slates. Gablehead stacks. Raised skews.