Scottish Wedding Theme
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June 1, 2009 07:11 - June Highland Games & Festivals

Summer is here and June is a busy month for Highland events.

If you are planning a Scottish Wedding Theme ~ or would just plain like a good dose of Scottishness, get to one of these Highland Games. At most of the events, you can find local bagpipers to hire or browse tartan sample books.

Some folks come dressed everyday, others arrive all ‘duded out‘.

Couples image property Scottish Wedding Dreams

You might even see a few Scottish dogs decked out in their tartans

Tartaned Westie courtesy
Edmonton Scottish Society

and others who work hard for a living

Border Collies image property Scottish Wedding Dreams

The participants are young and old

Wee Laddie On Parade image
property Scottish Wedding Dreams

Older Gentleman image
property Scottish Wedding Dreams

Some have an experience of a lifetime ~ such as riding a Highland cow.

Riding the Highland Cow image property Scottish Wedding Dreams

Clan tents have information on your clan's history, while others offer Scottish foods. Traditions abound, like the Cromach Walking Sticks featured in the February 18, 2009 blog.

Canes and Walking Sticks image property Scottish Wedding Dreams

And the ladies find lots to shop for, from jewelry to purses.

Zaxzo Purse image property Scottish Wedding Dreams

The music runs from traditional to rock, with lots of bagpiping.

Albannach at Murphreesboro image property ScottishWedding Dreams

But everyone is on parade...couples, ladies, even Southern Belles get to strut their stuff

Stepping Out courtesy Clipart

Ladies Shopping image property Scottish Wedding Dreams

Southern Belle image property Scottish Wedding Dreams

And now, let the June games begin!

  • May 29 to June 1, Rorschach, Switzerland ~ Celtic Days on Lake Constance

  • June 3 to 6, Kincardine, Ontario, Canada ~ Kincardine Scottish Festival and Highland Games

  • June 5 to 6, Callander, Ontario, Canada ~ Celtfest Callander

  • June 5 to 6, Greenville, South Carolina ~ Greater Greenville Scottish Games and Highland Festival

  • June 5 to 6, North Bay, Ontario, Canada ~ Celtfest

  • June 5 to 7, Arlington, Texas ~ Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games

    Arlington 2009 poster courtesy Texas Scottish Festival and Games

    Incidentally, the piper is wearing the Texas Bluebonnet Tartan. The flower on the right is the Texas Bluebonnet.

  • June 5 to 7, Garrett, Maryland ~ McHenry Highland Festival

  • June 5 to 8, Portarlington, Victoria, Australia ~ National Celtic Festival

  • June 6, Canton, Ohio ~ Stark County Irish & Scottish Festival

  • June 6, Cornhill, Aberdeenshire, Scotland ~ Cornhill Highland Games

  • June 6, Glendale, Wisconsin ~ Milwaukee Scottish Highland Games

  • June 6, Jaffrey, New Hampshire ~ Southern New Hampshire Scottish Games and Celtic Music Festival

  • June 6, Liberty Corner, New Jersey ~ Bonnie Brae Scottish Games

  • June 6, Modesto, California ~ Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans

  • June 6, Shotts, North Lanarkshire, Scotland ~ Shotts Highland Games

    Review Parade courtesy Shotts Highland Games Association

  • June 6 to 7, Cape May, New Jersey ~ Cold Spring Village Celtic Festival

  • June 6 to 7, Ferndale, Washington ~ Bellingham Highland Games

  • June 6 to 7, Sterling, Colorado ~ Sterling Celtic Festival

  • June 6 to 8, Portarlington, Victoria, Australia ~ National Celtic Folk Festival

  • June 12 to 13, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio ~ The Riverfront Irish Festival

  • June 12 to 13, Lehi, Utah ~ Scottish Festival and Highland Games

  • June 12 to 14, Riverside, Missouri ~ Kansas City Highland Games

  • June 12 to 14, Worcester, Massachusetts ~ Worcester Irish Music Festival

  • June 13, Clover, South Carolina ~ Clover Scottish Games and Scotch-Irish Festival

  • June 13, Fort Wayne, Indiana ~ Indiana Highland Games and Scottish Festival

  • June 13, Georgetown, Ontario, Canada ~ Georgetown Highland Games

  • June 13, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada ~ Hamilton Highland Games

  • June 13, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania ~ Harrisburg Pipe and Drum Festival

  • June 13, Lakewood, New Jersey ~ New Jersey Irish Festival

  • June 13, Midland, Michigan ~ Midland Highland Festival

  • June 13, Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland ~ The Bearsden and Milngavie Highland Games

  • June 13, Richmond, Rhode Island ~ Rhode Island Scottish Highland Festival

  • June 13, Russell, Ontario, Canada ~ Russell CelticFest

  • June 13 to 14, Blairsville, Georgia ~ Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games

  • June 13 to 14, Leesburg, Virginia ~ Potomac Celtic Festival

  • June 13 to 14, Sarnia, Ontario, Canada ~ Sarnia Highland Games

  • June 13 to 14, Staten Island, New York ~ Staten Island Irish Fair

  • June 14, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada ~ Grande Prarie Highland Games

  • June 14, Havre de Grace, Mayland ~ Steppingstone Celtic Festival

  • June 14, Helensburgh, Scotland ~ Helensburgh and Lomond Highland Games. This event is near Ardencaple Castle blogged May 4, 2009.

    Their 1903 games included tent pegging, lemon cutting, a Balaclava melee & wrestling on horseback by the Royal Field Artillery.

  • June 14 to 19, Pebble Beach, California ~ Monterey Bay School of Piping and Drumming

  • June 19 to 20, Newburgh, Scotland ~ Newburgh Highland Games and Boat Race.

    Tomorrow, read more about the Coble boat and race history.

    Newburgh Coble Boat Race courtesy Newburgh Games

  • June 19 to 20, Oak Brook, Illinois ~ Illinois Saint Andrew Society Highland Games

  • June 19 to 20, Scottsboro, Alabama ~ North AlabamaScottish Festival and Highland Games

  • June 19 to 20, Spencerville, Ontario, Canada ~ Veteran’s Memorial Highland Games

  • June 19 to 21, Fairfield, Connecticut ~ Fairfield County Irish Festival

  • June 20, Campbell, California ~ Campbell Highland Games

  • June 20, Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada ~ BC Legion Highland Gathering

  • June 20, East Souburg, The Netherlands ~ Helensburgh and Lomond Highland Games

  • June 20, Franklin, North Carolina ~ Taste of Scotland Festival

  • June 20, Jackson’s Point, Ontario, Canada ~ Georgina Highland Gathering

  • June 20, Langley, British Columbia, Canada ~ Legion Highland Gathering

  • June 20, Lesmahagow, South Lanarkshire, Scotland ~ Lesmahagow Highland Games

  • June 20, Madison, Alabama ~ North Alabama Scottish Festival

  • June 20, Newburgh, Scotland ~ Newburgh Highland Games

  • June 20, Oost-Souburg, Zeeland, the Netherlands ~ Zeeland Highland Games

  • June 20, Prosser, Washington ~ Prosser Scottish Fest

  • June 20, Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada ~ Manitoba Highland Gathering

  • June 20, Shrewsbury, Maryland ~ Irish Festival

  • June 20, Water Valley, Alberta, Canada ~ Water Valley Traditional Celtic Folk Festival

  • June 20 to 21, Fort Collins, Colorado ~ Fort Collins Irish Festival

  • June 20 to 21, Irvine, California ~ Great American Irish Fair and Music Festival

  • June 20 to 21, Stillwater, Oklahoma ~ Oklahoma Celtic Music and Heritage Festival

  • June 21, Aberdeen, Scotland ~ City of Aberdeen Highland Games

  • June 21, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada ~ Edmonton Scottish Society Highland Games

  • June 25 to 27, Wellington, Ohio ~ Ohio Scottish Games

  • June 26 to 27, Billings, Montana ~ Yellowstone Highland Games

  • June 26 to 27, Malad City, Idaho ~ Malad Valley Welsh Festival

  • June 26 to 28, Kilmore, Victoria, Australia ~ Kilmore Celtic Festival

  • June 26 to 28, Manheim, Pennsylvania ~ Celtic Fling and Highland Games

  • June 26 to 28, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada ~ Summerside Highland Gathering

  • June 27, Ceres, Fife, Scotland ~ Ceres Highland Games

    These are the oldest free games in Scotland, the first games granted by charter in 1314 by Robert the Bruce after Battle of Bannockburn. History of the Ceres Games makes for good reading.

  • June 27, Cobourg, Ontario, Canada ~ Cobourg Highland Games

  • June 27, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada ~ BC Scottish Highland Games

  • June 27, Drumtochty Glen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland ~ Drumtochty Highland

  • June 27, Eagle River, Alaska ~ Alaska Scottish Games

  • June 27, Graham, Washington ~ Tacoma-Pierce County Highland Games

  • June 27, Greenfield, Massachusetts ~ Western Massachusetts Highland Games and Celtic Festival

  • June 27, Norwalk, Connecticut ~ Round Hill Highland Games

  • June 27, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada ~ Red Deer Highland Games

  • June 27, Wellington, Ontario, Canada ~ Ohio Scottish Games

  • June 27, Winnipeg Beach, Monitoba, Canada ~ Bands on the Boardwalk

  • June 27 to 28, Gillette, Wyoming ~ Wyoming Celtic Festival and Highland Games

  • June 27 to 28, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania ~ Pennsylvania Celtic Fling and Highland Games

  • June 27 to 28, Lindsay, Ontario, Canada ~ Lindsay Scottish Festival

  • June 27 to 28, North Haven, Connecticut ~ Connecticut Irish Festival

  • June 27 to 28, Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania ~ Shawnee Celtic Festival

  • June 27 to 28, Vista, Califorina ~ San Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans

  • June 28, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada ~ Edmonton Highland Gathering

  • June 28 to July 3, Termonfeckin, County Louth, Ireland ~ An Chuirt Chruitireachta International Harp Festival

  • June 28 to July 5, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia ~ Sydney Scottish Week

  • June 29 to July 3, Pebble Beach, California ~ Monteray Bay School of Piping

  • June 30 to July 17, Inverness, Ontario, Canada ~ The Ceilidh Trail School of Music

For more detailed information about the listed events, go to

Coming tomorrow, the coble boats of Newburgh...

June 2, 2009 07:14 - Newburgh Markets, Riding the Marches & Coble Boats

Way, way, way back, the burgh was given the right to hold a weekly market, two annual fairs, an Auld Handsel Monday celebration, and Riding of the Marches once every three years.

One of the fairs, held the third Friday in June, was called the "Race Market". The other was the "Haggis Market", held on St. Katherine’s Day on November 25. The last Haggis Market was held in 1869.

The residents still ride the marches every three years. This marks the boundaries of the burgh, causes continued access to common lands, and maintains the right of way to the River Tay, as granted in the 18th century.

The Race Market continues today as the annual Highland games. It's still held the third weekend of June and includes a coble boat race. In 1880 racing the coble boatas replaced the horse race held at the original Race Market day.

In the last few centuries, most local lads grew up to become salmon net fishingmen. The first step in their training was learning to row the 18 foot salmon coble. A natural competition arose between the lads and the more experienced men.

Netting the salmon ended in 1996. But every year, for weeks before race day, the Tay is dotted with coble teams practicing for the big race. The race centers around the drying green where they once hung their salmon nets. to dry.

Coming tomorrow, the castles of North Lanarkshire…

June 3, 2009 08:17 - Castles of Scotland ~ North Lanarkshire

  • Bedlay Castle, L-plan tower house, c. 1581, extended in 1642, extended in 18th century, also called Ballalyn,

    Bedlay Castle image courtesy Photos by Eleanor

    The grant to the Bishops of Glasgow was confirmed in 1180. In 1581, the Bishop of Glasgow granted the land to a kinsman, Robert Boyd, who built the first phase of the castle. Cromwell imposed a heavy fine on James Boyd which forced the sell of Bedlay to a Robertson in 1642.

    The estate continued in the Boyd family till 1642, when, in consequences of a heavy fine of £15,000 imposed by Cromwell on James, eighth Lord Boyd, for his steady support of royalty, the latter was forced to sell off some of his landed possessions.

    Since 1741, the estate has changed hands many times, including a branch of the Campbells. It is still a private residence.

    The castle lies 8 miles east of Glasgow. The residents of Chryston village once drew their water from the well in the castle wall. James Campbell brought many garden ornaments from his property at Petershill, which lies 1 ½ miles north of Glasgow. These are still in the gardens.

    In 2006, the castle, sitting on 6 acres, was for sale. Only offers over £750,000
    were considered.

  • Dalzell House, tower house, mid 15th century, Scottish Baronial additions in 1649 and 1860, ancient seat of Clan Hamilton

    Dalzell Castle image courtesy COSPT

    The correct pronunciation is attained simply by naming the consonants D L, with stress on the L. Dail ghil is Gaelic for "white meadow", the color or the local soil. Hugh de Dalzell as the sheriff of Lanark in 1288.

    An old Glasgow rhyme tells us what the locals thought of Clan Dalzell.

    Deil an Da’yell begins wi yae letter;
    Deil’s no gude, and Da’yell’s nae better

    [Devil and Dalzell begins with same letter
    Devil's no good and Dalzell's no better]

    Tomorrow, the castles of Orkney…

June 4, 2009 06:26 - Castles of Scotland ~ Orkney

  • Balfour Castle, tower house with courtyard, early 16th century, addition c. 1780, with 1847 Scottish Baronial addition

    Balfour Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

    In the 1780’s Thomas Balfour purchased the estate of Sound, including the home which was burned in revenge after the 1745 Jacobite Rising.

    The addition was added by a grandson, David Balfour. The architect was David Bryce of Edinburgh.

    The last Balfour died in 1960. A Polish Cavalry officer purchased the castle. Currently the castle is a private residence with some portions being a hotel and the private chapel is available for weddings.

  • The Bishop’s Palace, tower house with a hall, c. 1150, by 1320 in ruins, rebuilt and tower added in 1540, also known as the Palace of the Yards, passed to the Stewarts in 1568, remodeled in 1600, in ruins

    Bishops Palace Orkney image courtesy Canmore

  • Earl’s Palace, Birsay, tower and great hall with courtyard, 16th century

    Earl’s Palace Birsay image courtesy Wikipedia

    Robert Stewart, 1st Earl of Orkney seized Earl’s Palace, Saint Magnus Cathedral, and Kirkwall Castle. To displace him took an army and a siege. During this time the Earl’s Palace was destroyed. When Bishop MacKenzie died in 1688, the palace gradually deteriorated, in ruins

  • Earl’s Palace, Kirkwall, 1607, once the finest Renaissance building in Scotland, originally known as Newark in the Yards, inhabitable by 1705, in 1745 the roof slates were stripped off and sold.

    Bishop’s Palace Kirkwall image courtesy Wikipedia

  • Kirkwall Castle, rectangle with curtained wall, 1379, built by Henry St. Clair, in 1470 James III forced Sinclair to trade Ravenscraig for Kirkwall, demolished in 1615 by order of James VI, also called King’s Castle,

  • Noltland Castle, extended Z-plan tower house, c. 1560, never completed

    Noltland Castle image courtesy Orkneyjar

    Taken by Robert Stewart in 1572, seized by Patrick Stewart in 1598, regained by Sinclairs c. 1606 and sold to John Arnot who became Sheriff of Orkney

Coming tomorrow, the castles of Perth and Kinross….

June 5, 2009 09:52 - Castles of Scotland ~ Perth and Kinross

Perth and Kinross border Aberdeenshire, Angus, City of Dundee, Fife, Clackmannanshire, Stirling, Argyll and Bute, and Highland.

  • Ardblair Castle, L-plan tower house with courtyard.

    Ardblair Castle image courtesy Canmore

    An heraldic pediment bears the date 1688, while a sundial in the courtyard is dated 1623.
    In Gaelic, ard means a promontory, and bhlar means a field or parcel of land.

    The lands were granted to Thomas Blair of Balthayock between 1390 and 1406. The Blair family built the castle on the site of a fort and partly on the foundation of an earlier castle. In 1792, by marriage, the estate passed to the Oliphants of Gask.

    The Oliphants of Gask were a Jacobite family and the castle houses many relics of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Laurence Oliphant was his Aide-de-Camp. He named his daughter Caroline, after Prince Charlie. Caroline is known for her poetry and ballads, first under the pseudonym Mrs. Bogan of Bogan, then as Baroness or Lady Nairne [blogged January 16 and 17, 2008]

    Among her poetry still known today are The Auld Hoose, The Rowan Tree, The Laird o’Cockpen, The Hundred Pipers. Her two most famous ballads are Charlie is My Darling and Will Ye No Come Back Again?.

    The Blair-Oliphant family still live at the castle, which is designated a site of special scientific interest, the fauna including some unusual butterflies. The family has converted stables and a coach-house into holiday cottages for those seeking a peaceful retreat in a historic setting. Raspberries grow in wild profusion, the area being dubbed the ‘Raspberry Capital of the World’.

    As a member of the Ardblair Highlanders, Laurence Blair Oliphant often appears in a feileadh-more, reenacting historic Jacobite battles and appearing in documentaries and films, such as Rob Roy. Learn more about the feileadh-mor at Scottish Wedding Dreams Kilt History.

    Laurence Blair Oliphant image courtesy Wikipedia

  • Ashintully Castle, L-plan tower house, 1583 with 18th and 19th century additions, built by Andrew Spalding on land from his wife of the Wemyss clan. Currently a sheep farm and bed-and-breakfast, but better known for it‘s ghosts.

    Ashintully Castle image courtesy Canmore

  • Balhousie Castle, tower house, 1631, Scottish Baronial renovation 1862-63, seat of Earls of Kinnoull. In 1962 the castle became the regimental headquarters and museum of the Black Watch, the military regiment of great renown and history.

    Balhousie Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

  • Balvaird Castle, tower house, 1500, built for Sir Andrew Murray who acquired the land through marriage to the heiress Margaret Barclay. In Gaelic, Balvaird is Baile a' Bhàird, meaning Township of the Bard.

    Balvaird Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

  • Blackcraig Caslte, tower house, Scottish Baronial addition in 1856

    Blackcraig Castle image courtesy Chatelaine

  • Burleigh Castle ,tower house, 1582, with late 16th century curtain wall and second tower. After the Jacobite risings, the castle passed from Clan Irwin, to The Grahams of Kinross. The north gable has a marriage stone engraving, dated 1582, with the initials of Sir James Balfour and his wife Margaret. Read more about marriage stones in the June 18th and 19th, 2008, blog.

    Burleigh Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

    A fragment of the garden is still known as 'The Burleigh Walls'.

    A computer theme and possibly a screensaver for this castle is available from Tartan Themes.

  • Craighall Castle, pre-16th century with 1825 addition, ancient seat of Clan Rattray, currently an apartment house

    Craighall Castle image courtesy

    The castle was visited by Sir Walter Scott in 1798. In his first novel, Waverly,.Scott used the castle as one of several prototypes for ‘Tully Veolan’ , the manor house of the Bradwardines.

  • Dalnagar Castle, Scottish baronial, 18th century, castle and cottages available as lodging and for weddings.

    Dalnagar Castle image courtesy Chatelaine

  • Drummond Castle, tower house, c. 1491,upper stories ruined by Cromwell in 1653, 1690 mansion with 1842-53 Scottish Baronial modifications.

    Drummond Castle image courtesy Drummond Castle Gardens

    Both the buildings and gardens of Drummond Castle served as backdrops in the movie Rob Roy.

    Drummond Castle Gardens image courtesy Drummond Castle

    A computer theme and possibly a screensaver for this castle is available from Tartan Themes.

  • Dupplin Castle, Scottish Baronial, destroyed by fire in 1827, rebuilt in 1828 to 1832, rebuilt in 1969, ancient seat of Clan Hay, also the home of whisky baron John Dewar, currently a hotel.

    Dupplin Castle image courtesy Dundee City Government

  • Elcho Castle, Z-plan tower house, 1560, ancient seat of Clan Wemyss. By 1780 in ruins, reroofed in 1830, placed in government care in 1929.

    Elcho Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

    A computer theme and possibly a screensaver for this castle is available from Tartan Themes.

  • Finlarig Castle, L-plan tower, 1609, ruins, ancient seat of Clan Breadalbane

    Finlarig Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

  • Forter Castle, tower house, built in 1560, destroyed in 1640 by the Duke of Argyll

    Forter Castle image courtesy Forter Castle

  • Huntingtower Castle, tower house, 15th century, second tower added, 17th century addition connected the two towers, originally named Ruthven Castle.

    Huntingtower Castle image courtesy Rampant Scotland

    Walter Ruthven assisted William Wallace at the siege of Perth. A young James VI was held captive for 10 months in Ruthven Castle. In 1600 the Ruthvens were involved in a plot against the king. The castle was taken by the crown and rename ‘Huntingtower’.

    A computer theme and possibly a screensaver for this castle is available from Tartan Themes.

  • Castle Huntly, tower house, c. 1452, built by Baron Gray of Fowlis. In 1614 the Earl of Strathmore acquired the estate, renaming it Castle Lyon. In c. 1770 the castle was sold to George Paterson, who change the name back to Huntly Castle. A Scottish Baronial addition was built in 1778. In 1946 the government purchased the castle, refurbishing it as a ‘borstal‘, or youth prison. Presently it’s an open prison for adult males.

    Castle Huntly image courtesy Photos by Eleanor

  • Kinfauns Castle, Scottish Baronial castle, 1822 to 1826, built by Lord Gray, currently a hotel

    Kinfauns Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

  • Kinnaird Castle, burned to the ground in 1100, then again in the early 19th century, rebuilt c. 1850, burned again c. 1900

    Kinnaird Castle image courtesy Chatelaine

    In Gaelic ceann-airde, means ‘the head of the hill-rise’

  • Lethendy Tower, L-plan tower, 16th or 17th century, with later addition, currently a hotel

    Lethendy Castle image courtesy Lloyd and Townsend Rose

    The doorway on the east side once had a panel bearing the arms of Heron and dated 1678, believed to date the first renovation.

  • Loch Leven Castle, c. 1300 ruins, 14th or 15th century tower house and curtained wall, in 1675 the estate passed from Clan Douglas to William Bruce. In the 18th century the estate passed to the Grahams, then in the 19th century to the Montgomerys. Currently, the state owns the property.

    Lochleven Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

  • Meggernie Castle, tower house, 1585, modern mansion house addition

    Meggernie Castle image courtesy Clan MacGregor

    In 1603, Duncan Campbell of Glen Lyon was given the lands with the chief house named ‘TheTower Meggernie‘.

  • Megginch Castle, tower house, 15th century, additional wing added in 1575, other additions in 1790, 1820 and 1928.

    Megginch Castle image courtesy Rampant Scotland

    Purchased in 1664 by the Drummonds who still reside in the castle, seat of Clan Hays of Lays who became Earls of Erroll. Used as backdrop in the film Rob Roy. Historically, the Megginch resident imprisoned Rob Roy in Perth Tolbooth.

  • Castle Menzies, Z-plan tower house, late 16th century, 1840 extensions
    available for weddings and private functions


  • Methven Castle, tower house, 1680, passed from Clan Mowbray, through the Sewarts to the Smythes; currently offices

    Methven Castle image courtesy Perthshire Scotland

    Margaret Tudor, queen of James IV, died in Methven Castle in 1541

  • Murthly Castle, private residence catering to weddings and private accommodations

    Murthly Castle image courtesy Murthly Castle

  • Newton Castle
    Newton Castle is now the home of the Chief of the Clan Macpherson, but it was originally a Drummond stronghold, built in the middle of the 16th century.

  • Taymouth Castle, Scottish Baronial, early 19th century, built by the Campbells of Breadalbane. The central building dates from 1806. When Queen Victoria visited in 1842, much of the castle was completed.

    Taymouth Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

    Stands on the site of Balloch Castle which was built in 1550. The interior is extravagantly carved, with fine plaster work and murals. Panels of medieval glass and Renaissance woodwork are also found in the castle.

    Pre-World War II, the castle operated as a hotel with the deer park a golf course.
    During the war it was used as a convalescent home

    A renovation was begun to convert the castle into a hotel. The company is now insolvent and work has ceased.

  • Tullibole Castle, early 17th century with modern addition, private residence with rooms available

    Tullibole Castle image courtesy Tullibole Castle

    The Hering family held the property in 1490. In the 16th century, it passed to the Hallidays, then to the Moncrieffs c. 1740. The Moncrieffs still own Tullibole Castle.

    The current Moncrieff is erecting a memorial maze to commemorate those executed on his estate as witches in 1662.

Coming Monday, the castles of Renfrewshire…

June 8, 2009 07:30 - Castles of Scotland ~ Renfrewshire

Lying just out of Glasgow, Renfrewshire is now a highly populated commuter area. The largest city is Paisley, famous for it’s fabric mills and paisley shawls. This paisley shawl, c. 1800, is in the Whaling Museum in Sag Harbor, New York.

Paisley Shawl image Scottish Wedding Dreams

  • Barr Castle, tower house, 15th century, on an older motte-and-bailey site, no evidence of curtained wall which is believed to have been removed for a 17th century addition to tower.

    Barr Castle image courtesy Rampant Scotland

    The estate was purchased by the Campbells of Cessnock in 1670, and has since been used as a wool store and Masonic hall. A door lintel is dated 1680 and bears the initials L.H./I.C.

  • Belltrees Peel, an unusual low tower, of an irregular hexagonal plan, c. 1550, built on Semple property, once occupied by Sir James Semple. The Semples used Belltrees Peel as a shelter when sailing on Castle Semple Loch.

  • Blackhall Manor, some elements 14th century, 16th century house is oldest in Paisley, also called ‘Nigra Aula’, deserted c. 1840, renovated in 1982.

    Blackhall Manor image courtesy Renfrewshire Government

  • Castle Semple, 1492 castle demolished in 1735 to build a new Gothic mansion, which burned in 1924.

    Castle Semple image courtesy Canmore

    In 1850 the owner of Castle Semple and Castle Semple Loch refused to allow the Royal Curling Club the use of the loch for the Grand Match, stating he could not spare any part of the 2 mile long loch. A neighbor offered Barr Meadow, which he flooded for the event.

  • Cochrane Castle, tower house, c. 1592 by William Cochrane

  • Erskine Castle, in 1348 Robert Erskine purchased the castle from William Wiseman

  • Gryffe Castle, Scottish baronial, 1854, first mentioned as far back as 1474. A mounded location suggests an earlier motte-and-bailey with staked palisade.

    Gryffe Castle image courtesy Bridge of Weir

  • Hawkhead Castle, no information found

  • Houston Castle, no information found

  • Inch Castle, the names Inch Castle and Renfrew Castle are intermixed with seemingly overlapping remains

  • Inchinnan Castle, no information found

  • Johnstone Castle, tower house, 16th century, acquired by the Houstouns c. 1645, 1771 and 1812 additions by George Houston. The last Houston to occupy the castle was George Ludovic Houstoun, early 20th century.

    Johnstone Castle image courtesy Castle Stories

    During World War II the War Office used the castle as a prisoner-of-war camp. In 1956 the castle was demolished, except the central tower which is an information bureau for the surrounding housing development.

    A plaque, commemorating a visit by Chopin, is attached to the fence surrounding the castle tower.

    Frederick Chopin 1810 - 1849

    To commemorate the temporary
    residency of the composer and pianist
    Frederick Chopin at Johnstone Castle.

    Chopin was a guest of Ludovic Houstoun,
    5th Laird of Johnstone Castle whose wife he
    had tutored in Paris. He stayed at
    Johnstone Castle for most of the month
    of September 1848 prior to giving a
    concert at the Merchants Hall in Glasgow
    on the 27th of that year.

    Chopin Plaque Johnstone Castle image courtesy Johnstone Castle

  • Ranfurly Castle, tower house, built by the Knoxes about 1440, additions in 1640 and an undetermined date

  • Renfrew Castle, also called King’s Inch, pre-1474, Sir John Ross was granted the lands of Inch, including the ruins of this castle. He built a tower house known as Inch Castle. Blended sites cause confusion as to what is Renfrew Castle and what is Inch Castle.

  • Stanely Castle, L-plan tower, remained in the Maxwell family form 1402 to 1629. Sold to the Hawkhead family, passed by marriage to the Boyle family in mid-18th century. Abandoned in 19th century. Though in the middle of a reservoir, the castle is still standing.

    Stanely Castle image courtesy Castle Stories

Coming tomorrow, castles of the Scottish Borders…

June 9, 2009 13:02 - Computer Problems

Due to computer problems there will be no blog today. Tomorrow, the castles of Scotland will continue.

June 10, 2009 10:47 - Castles of Scotland ~ The Scottish Borders

Also known as The Borders, which in Scots is Mairches, the River Tweed and its tributaries drain the whole area into the North Sea. Historically, the lands were much fought over between the British and the Scots. Most of the castles changed hands back and forth, depending on who last won a battle.

  • Branxholme Castle, tower house, 1532, land owned by Clan Scott since 1420, 1837 remodeled

    Branxholme Castle courtesy Photos by Eleanor

  • Cessford Castle, L-plan tower house, 1450, last inhabited in 1650, principal stronghold of Clan Kerr, notorious Border Reivers and Warders of the Middle March

    Cessford Castle courtesy Wikipedia

  • Cranshaws Tower, tower house,

    Cranshaws Castle courtesy Lisa Jarvis, Geograph

  • Dryhope Tower, tower house, 16th century, rebuilt in 1613, uninhabitable by late 17th century

    Dryhope Tower courtesy Castle U.K.

    Once owned by the Scotts of Dryhope, a daughter, Mary Scott, was called the ‘Flower of Yarrow’. [Read a poem in her honor, plus her history, in tomorrow’s blog]

  • Duns Castle, tower house, 1320, c. 1820 Gothic addition, currently a private home and luxury venue

    King Robert the Bruce gave the tower to the Earl of Moray. The Earl of Tweedale bought the home in 1696 for his son, William Hay of Drummelzier. The Hay family still own and reside in the castle.

    Duns Castle courtesy Wikipedia

  • Edrington Castle, 14th century, one of the earliest Border strongholds, ruins

    In 1330 Sir Robert of Lauder of The Bass possessed hereditarily the fishing of Edrington and was Sheriff and Keeper of Berwick Castle. In 1641 the castle passed to Sir Patrick Hepburn of Waughton, uncle to the last George Lauder of The Bass. James Scott held the property in 1648 and in 1661 Edrington was sold to James, Master of Mordington, the eldest lawful son of William Douglas.

  • Fast Castle, c. 1333, tower and curtained wall, ruins, c. 1500 passed to Home (Hume) family, destroyed 1515, rebuilt 1522. Sitting so near the border, the castle changed hands between the British and Border families several times.

    Fast Castle courtesy Scottish Castles

    Originally known as Fause, which means false. Lights were hung from the castle to mislead ships. Shipmasters would see the lights in the dark, think they had reached a safe haven, only to find that they had been guided on to rocks, where wrecking parties plundered their ships.

    Fast Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    When Sir Walter Scott wrote The Bride of Lammermoor in 1819, though he named his castle ‘Wolf’s Crag’, many believed he used Fast Castle as his prototype.

  • Fatlips Castle, tower house, 15th century, built by the Turnbills of Barnhills, notorious Border Reivers, passed to Sir Gilbert Elliott in 1705, restored by Sir Robert Lorimer in 1857, used as a museum until the 1960’s.

    Fatlips Castle courtesy Wikipedia

  • Ferniehirst Castle, L-plan tower, c. 1470, by the Kerr family, occupied by British in 1547, regained, damaged by British 1570, and reconstructed 1598, sat vacant in 18th century, repaired c. 1830, restored 1890. A youth hostel from 1934 to 1984, except when used for World War II troop billeting. Major restoration in 1988, private home.

    Ferniehirst Castle courtesy Clan Kerr

    According to legend, the Kerr family is said to be left-handed and the spiral staircases spiraled left.

  • Floors Castle, Scottish Baronial around older tower, 1721, 19th century additions, still owned by a member of the Kerr Clan, the Duke of Roxburghe

    Floors also stands on the opposite bank from Roxburgh Castle and was designed by William Adam, the father of well-known architect Robert Adam. Remodeled in 1837. In 1903, when the 8th Duke married May Goelet, an American heiress, she brought a set of Gobelins tapestries which were added into the ballroom.

    Floors Castle 1880n image courtesy Wikipedia

    Today the family has found many ways to support the castle and grounds. As well as tours, the estate kitchens has a deli which offers many gourmet delights. Offering an array of bakery delights, game birds, and freezer meals. A study of their freezer meals could be a source for selecting Scottish entrees for your reception foods. Restaurants and gift shops are found on the grounds, plus they offer a variety of cottages, town homes, and commercial properties in the Kelso area.

    Floors Castle courtesy Floors Castle

    Pronounced fleurs, the castle was named in honor of the ‘Auld Alliance’ between France and Scotland.

    Floors is the largest inhabited house in Scotland. In the 1984 movie Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, Floors was used as the Greystone Manor set.

  • Fulton Tower, tower house, 16th century, first known as Foulton, in 1570 Margaret Home/Hume who resided at Fulton Tower married a Turnball.

    Fulton Tower courtesy Clan Fulton

  • Greenknowe Tower, L-plan tower house, 1581, purchased mid-1600 by the Pringle family, by 1850 deserted. Built by James Seton and his wife, Janet Edmonstone, their initials are on the lintel above the main entrance.

  • Hermitage Castle, typical Norman motte-and-bailey,1240, stone tower c. 1300, 1388 addition, 1603 in disrepair, 1700 in ruins

    Hermitage Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    Once described as ‘the embodiment of the phrase sod off in stone, the imposing stone structure exudes belligerence. Wooden fighting platforms ran along the tops of the outside walls making the castle even more aggressive.

    When the Wars of Independence broke out in 1296, Hermitage was on the front line and the castle changed hands several times. Nicholas de Soulis built the first stone castle c. 1240, which now forms the heart of the present castle. Forfeited c.1320 by William de Soulis on account of witchcraft. In 1371 William, the first Earl of Douglas took possession. In 1388 the castle passed to George Douglas who added corner towers.

    In 1481 it passed to Archibald Douglas, Bell the Cat. Archibald gained this new name, Archibald, Bell the Cat, when he turned against James III and Robert Cochrane. He offered to ‘bell the cat’, by which he meant deal with Cochrane. Archibald pulled Cochrane’s gold chain from his neck and had him hung. The term ‘bell the cat’ was taken from Aesop’s Fable The Mice in Council and had come to mean undertaking a dangerous task for the benefit of all.

    In 1492, the Hermitage was given to Patrick Hepburn, reverted to the crown, then was granted to Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch, a notorious Border Reiver. In 1930 the Scott family handed care of the castle over to the government.

    In the 19th century, the romance of Hermitage appealed to the imagination of Sir Walter Scott. When he had his portrait painted by Sir Henry Raeburn, Hermitage can be seen in the background.

  • Hume Castle, 12th or 13th century castle of enceinte

    Within view of the English border, Hume Castle was used as a beacon to warn of invasion.

    Hume Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    In 1547, the castle fell during the Rough Wooing. Lord Home had been captured at the Battle of Pinkie the day before and Lady Home mounted a taunting resistance to Somerset and the English troops. Home’s son, Alexander recaptured the castle, but it was again besieged in 1569. Cromwell took the castle in 1650. Before his death in 1794 Hugh Hume-Campbell restored the castle as a ‘folly’. Presently held by the Hume Castle Preservation Trust.

    [A "folly" will be blogged next Monday, June 15, 2009]

  • Jedburgh Castle, c. 1174, built by David I as one of five fortresses alon the border, demolished 1409, Jedburgh Castle Jail, c. 1823, built on the site

    Jethart Snails are a local specialty. A brown mint flavored boiled sweet, legend tells that the recipe was brought to Jedburgh by French prisoners-of-war during the Napoleonic War.

    David Brewster, inventor of the kaleidoscope was born in Jedburgh.

    Jedburgh’s other claim to fame is the expression Jeddart, or Jethart, Justice, which is where a man was hanged first and tried afterward.

  • Kirkhope Tower, tower house, 16th century, burned in 1542 by the Armstrongs, inherited by Anne Scott c. 1700, by c. 1850 falling into ruin, rescued and restored to the private residence of Pater Clarke in 1996.

    Kirkhope Tower courtesy Wikipedia

    A 1535 act of Scottish Parliament required large landholders along the Border to build a barmkin of stone and lime, sixty square feet with walls one ell thickness and six ells in height for the defense of the landholder, his tenants, and his goods, to be built within two years.

    Barmekin or barnekin is Scots from the Roman barbican, meaning an outer fortification of a city or castle. A bailey was an enclosed courtyard with a wooden palisade fence which enclosed the hall, stables, chapel, forge, huts, water well and merchant’s shops. Kirkhope, Newark, and Smailholm Castles are examples of a barmekin.

    Young Wat Scott, a notorious Border Reiver, brought his bride and cousin Mary Scott of Dryhope. Renowned for her beauty as her husband was for his belligerence, his deeds are recorded in various Border ballads. When the castle stores were empty, Mary served him his spurs on a platter, a signal to ready his men for a raid across the Border.

  • Mervinslaw Pele, tower house, ruins

    Mervinslaw Pele courtesy Walter Baxter, Geograph British Isles

  • Neidpath Castle, L-plan tower house, replacing a c. 1265 castle built by Sir Simon Fraser, early 14th century, passed by marriage to the Hays family

    Neidpath Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    The English were defeated three times in one day at Neidpath Castle. Neidpath, Saskatchewan, in western Canada was named after the castle.

    The Bruce , a 1996 movie, was filmed at Neidpath. In 1997, the castle served as the location for Merlin: The Quest Begins, starring Sean Connery’s son, Jason.

  • Newark Castle, granted to Archibald Douglas c. 1423 as an incomplete castle, the Black Douglases fell in 1455, the castle was claimed by the crown, then given to Margaret of Denmark, wife of James III, in 1473. Completed c. 1475, barmkin added c. 1550, besieged by the English in 1547, burned in 1548, battlements and caphouses added c. 1660 for Anna, Duchess of Monmouth and Buccleuch. Visited by Sir Walter Scott and William Wordsworth in 1831.

  • Nisbet House, tower house expanded into Scottish Baronial mansion c. 1630, sold to John Kerr in 1652, tower added in 1774. The Kerr family sold the castle in the 190’s to Lord Brockett. Sold again c. 1965 to a local farmed, recently restored as a private residence.

    Nisbet House courtesy Wikipedia

  • Roxburgh Castle, founded by King David I (1124-1153), surrendered to England in 1174, taken by James Douglas in 1314, repaired by Henry V of England in 1417. In 1460 James II was killed during a siege when one of his own cannons exploded. His wife, Mary of Guelders had the castle destroyed to keep it from falling into English hands. The ruins stand on the grounds of Floors Castle.

    Roxburgh Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    [Editor’s Note: the Mary of Guelders portrait was found after the blog was published]

    Roxburgh Castle courtesy Wikipedia

  • Smailholm Tower, tower house, 1450 by the Pringle family, bought by Sir William Scott of Harden in 1635 but the family lived at Sandyknowe a few hundred yards away

    Smailholm Tower courtesy Wikipedia

    Sir Walter Scott spent his childhood at Sandyknowe while recovering from illness. Here he came to love the Border ballads. As an adult he said that Smailholm, "standing stark and upright like a warden", was a powerful inspiration.
    warden," was a powerful inspiration. Smailholm Tower directly inspired Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders.

    A computer theme and possibly a screensaver for this castle is available from Tartan Themes.

  • Thirlestane Castle, tower house, 13th century, rebuilt 1590 by John Maitland Duke of Lauderdale, improved 1671 by Duke of Lauderdale, 1840 extensions, inherited by Captain Gerald Maitland-Carew in 1972, in 1984 gifted to a charitable trust.

    Thirlestane Castle courtesy About Britian

  • Traquair House, built as a fortified mansion, not a castle, 15th century, Scotland’s oldest inhabited house, predates the Scottish Baronial style. Traquair House is Scotland’s oldest inhabited house

    Traquair House courtesy Wikipedia

  • Venlaw Castle, 14th century fortification founded by the Hay family, built on the site of the old Smithfield Castle it’s also known as Smithfield Castle, destroyed in the 18th and 19th centuries, reconstructed in 1782 as a Scottish Baronial mansion, enlarged in 1854. 1949 became a hotel set in 4 acres of gardens.

    Venlaw Castle courtesy Wikipedia

  • Wedderburn Castle, tower house, 17th century, c. 1771 Scottish Baronial mansion by Robert and James Adams for Patrick Home, historic seat of Home of Wedderburn, current owner David Home Miller, an accommodation and venue for weddings and events

    Wedderburn Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    [Editor’s Note: this painting by Jemima Wedderburn was found after this blog was published. As a location for curling, both winter curling on ice and summer curling on the game board were popular.]

    Wedderburn Castle courtesy Wikipedia

  • Whitslaid Tower, tower house, 1371 charters confirmed to Alan de Lauder, Lord of Whitslaid, indicates a tower was already in existence, seat of Lauder family for over 300 years, ruins

    Whitslaid Tower courtesy Walter Baxter, Geograph British Isles

Coming tomorrow, Mary Scott, the Flower of Yarrow, followed by the Folly at Hume Castle…

June 11, 2009 06:42 - Mary Scott, the Flower of Yarrow

Mary Scott, who lived at Dryhope Tower, was married in 1576 to Wat Scott of Kirkhope. Young Wat Scott, a notorious Border Reiver, brought his bride and cousin, Mary Scott of Dryhope, to live at Kirkhope Castle.

As renowned for her beauty as her husband was for his belligerence, his deeds are recorded in various Border ballads. When the castle stores were empty, Mary served him his spurs on a platter, a signal to ready his men for a raid across the Border.

Wat Scott’s Spurs courtesy
the National Museums of Scotland

A poem, The Flower of Yarrow was written about Mary Scott. Ironically, 6 generations later, steeped in the traditions of The Borders, another Sir Walter Scott became famous for his writings.

The Flower of Yarrow

Happy’s the love which meets return,
When in soft flames souls equal burn;
But words are wanting to discover,
The torments of a hopeless lover.

Ye registers of heav'n, relate,
If, looking o'er the rolls of fate,
Did you there see, mark'd for my marrow?
Mary Scott, the flower of Yarrow ?

Ah, no! her form's too heav'nly fair,
Her love the gods above must share,
While mortals with despair explore her,
And at a distance due adore her.

O, lovely maid! my doubts beguile,
Revive and bless me with a smile;
Alas! if not you'll soon debar a
Sighing swain the banks of Yarrow.

Be hush, ye fears! I'll not despair,
My Mary's tender as she's fair;
Then I'll go tell her all my anguish,
She is too good to let me languish.

With success crown'd I'll not envy
The folks who dwell above the sky;
When Mary Scott's become my marrow,
We'll make a paradise of Yarrow.

When stumbling upon this poem, I assumed it was in reference to the yarrow herb. What a pleasant surprise to find dozens of poems including a reference to Yarrow. Alas, it’s a river and valley in the Scottish Borders. Dryhope Castle sits in the Yarrow Valley.

Another ballad, The Dowie Dens of Yarrow, tells of the Yarrow Valley and Yarrow River. Dowie is Scots for sad, dismal, or dispirited, while den is Scots for a narrow, wooded valley.

The Yarrow River, also known as Yarrow Water flows through Yarrow Feus, Yarrow, Yarrowford, and Stirling before flowing into the River Tweed.

So much for thinking yarrow was merely a floral herb, known for it’s beauty and medicinal value.

Tomorrow, Yarrow, Seven Year‘s Love, Monday the Folly at Hume, then back to the castles of Shetland…

June 12, 2009 08:08 - Yarrow, The Herb

Achillea millefolium is a native to the Northern Hemisphere.

Also known as Arrowroot, Bad Man’s Plaything, Carpenter’s weed, Common Yarrow, Death flower, Devil’s Nettle, Eerie, Field Hops, Gearwe, Gordaldo, Hundred Leaved Grass, Knight’s Milfoil, Knyghten, Ladies Mantle, Millefolium, Milfoil, Noble Yarrow, Nosebleed plant, Old Man’s Mustard, Old Man's Pepper, Sanguinary, Seven Year’s Love [see below], Snake’s Grass, Soldier, Soldier's Woundwort, Staunch Weed, Thousand-leaf, Thousand-seal, Woundwort, Yarroway, and Yerw.

The Romans knew it as herbal militaris and used it to staunch the flow of blood from wounds. Prior to the use of hops, in the Middle Ages, yarrow was an ingredient in gruit, used as flavoring in beer.

The English name, Yarrow, derives from the Saxon word gearwe, which is related to the Dutch word gerw and the Old High German word garawa.

Yarrow image courtesy Wikipedia

Yarrow was a popular 17th century vegetable with the young leaves cooked as spinach or in a soup. It gives a sweet taste with slight bitterness.

Coming Monday yarrow traditions and tartans for a Scottish wedding theme…

June 15, 2009 08:03 - Yarrow For A Wedding Theme ~ Part I

Yarrow Valley, Yarrow River, Yarrow Feur, Yarrow, Yarrow Ford ~ towns, valleys, rivers, flowers, and so many names as seen in last Friday’s blog. But there’s also Yarrow, British Columbia and Yarrow Point, Washington, two areas heavily settled by Scottish immigrants.

Before you go thinking Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul, and Mary, must have Scottish ancestry, you must know his parents were Ukrainian Jews names Yaroshevitz, which became Yarrow upon their U.S. immigration.

But, as mentioned in the June 14th blog, there is a Scottish ballad about The Dowie Dens of Yarrow. It’s about the Yarrow Valley and the Yarrow River. According to this song, it’s a sadly dismal [dowie], narrow, wooded valley [den].

It’s also the name of the premier rugby stadium in Taranaki, New Zealand.

More important to those planning a Scottish theme wedding, a folk belief tells that by hanging a bunch of dried yarrow, or yarrow used in wedding decorations, over your bed will ensure a lasting love for at least seven years. Thus the name Seven Year’s Love.

And here’s three tartans, two Yarrow, one Ettrick, as Yarrow lies within the Ettrick District of the Scottish Borders.

Yarrow Dress Tartan

Yarrow Tartan

Ettrick District Tartan WR1191

Yarrow, the floral herb, could be carried with any of these tartans. This would be particularly appropriate for anyone whose ancestors came from the Ettrick District of Scotland.

Yarrow image courtesy Wikipedia

Coming tomorrow, yarrow, starlings, and red squirrels…

June 16, 2009 08:49 - Yarrow For A Wedding Theme ~ Part II

Starlings like to find yarrow to line their nests, I suspect for medicinal reasons, though I don’t know what that would be.

Common Starling courtesy Wikipedia

Starling, as a family name, is also tied in with the Ettrick District and the Yarrow Valley, though they don‘t have their own tartan.

Another interesting story is about the painting Portrait of a Lady With a Squirrel and a Starling, painted c. 1527 by Hans Halbein, the court painter for Henry VIII.

Lady With A Squirrel and a Starling courtest Wikipedia

Unremembered until it was found in the 1920’s, the lady and the story remained a mystery until 2006. David J. King, a stained glass historian, saw a photo of the painting when it was going on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum. No one had been able to figure out who the lady was or the meaning behind the red squirrel, starling, and fig tree, or why the starling was pointing toward the lady.

Upon viewing the painting, King realized a similarity with the stained glass coat-of-arms for the Lovett family in St. Peter and St. Paul, the village church in East Harling. He had seen tracery with a red squirrel cracking a nut, plus two shields with six red squirrels, done in 1520’s glass. Three Lovell tombs also had nut-cracking red squirrels.

As King viewed the portrait, the use of rebuses and puns in Medieval heraldry, pointed to East Harling, which had been spelled estharlyng and pronounced close to the word ‘starling’.

In the 16th century, starlings were kept as pets and often taught to say their owner’s name.

There are a few other instances of the starling as an heraldic symbol ~ Calverley, Duke, Gambier, and Pelton. But these others display the starling with a metal ball in it’s mouth, while the Lovell starling is holding a nut, just like the red squirrels in the stain glass.

Combined, this quickly led to the Lovell family. More so as Sir Francis Lovell was an ornithologist of some renown.

Pulling all this information together, King realized the squirrel cracking a nut told us the family name, the starling gave us the location, and the starling speaking in her right ear gave us the lady’s name and the date ~ celebrating the birth of Thomas Lovell, heir apparent of Francis and Anne Lovell.

Coming tomorrow, the follies of Scotland and elsewhere…

June 17, 2009 06:14 - Follies, A Renaissance Rage

A study of follies started after reading about the folly at Hume Castle on the Borders. As the castle lay in ruins, Lord Polwsath decided to build a "folly", which was all the rage. In 1794 he used the foundations of the castle curtained wall, added an imitation castle, including topping the walls with crenellations.

Hume Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

But what is a folly?

It’s architecture that has no other purpose than as an ornament, for fun, in light-heartedness. Though growing in popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries, in the 18th century follies became the rage. They often represented Roman temples, Chinese temples, Egyptian pyramids, ruined abbeys, Tartar tents. Others recalled rustic villages, mills, and cottages ~ to symbolize rural virtues.

A folly generally displayed common characteristics

  • They are buildings or parts of buildings
  • They serve no purpose, except ornamentation
  • They are deliberately built as ornaments
  • The design is often eccentric, calling attention to themselves
  • Fakery is often an element in their design ~ such as a folly which pretends to be the ruins of an old building

A folly can be described as fanciful or impractical architecture, but other structures related to follies have distinguishing characteristics. Even though the experts conflict in describing what are and are not follies or fantasies, I find some listed as follies that aren’t, and some not listed as follies that are. So you can just decide for yourself.

Coming tomorrow, the Follies of Scotland, then elsewhere…

June 18, 2009 06:25 - Follies Part II, The Follies of Scotland

Follies are most abundant in Great Britain with four located in Scotland ~

  • The Caldwell Tower, in Lugton, East Renfrewshire, which despite its probable 16th century origin, is referred to locally as a folly.

    Caldwell Tower image courtesy Wikipedia

  • The Coo Palace, also known as the Cow Palace, is located in Kirkandrews. Built in 1911 for a farmer named James Brown, the structure is a Steading, which combines stables and a dairy, and a Gothic tower designed to supply water for the livestock.

    The Coo Palace image courtesy Sandy Brewer

  • The Dunmore Pineapple, sits in Dunmore Park in Falkirk. Built in 1761 on the grounds of Dunmore House, it was a garden retreat and hothouse. Pineapples were grown at Dunmore, with the use of a furnace-driven heating system that circulated hot air through cavities in the wall construction of the hothouses.

    Dunmore Pineapple image courtesy Wikipedia

    Dunmore Pineapple image courtesy Wikipedia

  • McCaig's Tower, sits on the hillside of Battery Hill, overlooking Oban, in Argyll.

    McCaig’s Tower image courtesy Wikipedia

    The empty shell of the tower dominates the Oban skyline, and is now a public garden with magnificent views to the islands of Kerrera, Lismore, and Mull. The structure has become a modern wedding venue.

  • Ross Priory, designed in 1812 on the site of a farmhouse, was never an ecclesiastical structure, only a folly imitation of a grand mansion. The priory sits on the shores of Loch Lomond, overlooking Ben Lomond in West Dumbartonshire.

Ross Priory image courtesy Wikipedia

  • The Temple, near Castle Semple Loch, Renfrewshire, is located on Kenmure Hill and was built c. 1760. Though the purpose is unknown, local legend claims it was built for a sick child, or a convenanter’s watch tower, or a vantage point for ladies to watch the hunt.

    Coming tomorrow, Famine Follies and Boondoggles…

  • June 19, 2009 06:35 - Follies ~ Part III, Famine Follies and Boondoggles

    The Famine Follies are a whole different ballgame. During the Irish Potato Famine of 1845 to 1849 jobs were needed without depriving existing workers of their incomes. So construction projects called ‘Famine Follies’ were begun ~ including roads to the middle of nowhere, or between two random points, estate walls and screens, piers in the middle of bogs, and others of that ilk.

    The Boondoggle is similar to a folly. The term grew out of the New Deal of the Great Depression. It describes a project that wasted money and time. This doesn’t mean it simply failed, nor is it a fraud which intended to have no merit. A boondoggle is a project where the key employees realize it’s never going to work, but are reluctant to tell their superiors, so they just go through the motions until their paychecks cease to be.

    Coming Monday, examples of non-follies…

    June 22, 2009 07:01 - Follies ~ Part IV, Non-Follies, Close But Not…

    There’s follies, then there’s structures which come close but are placed in a different category ~ the non-follies.

    • Fantasy, or novelty, are buildings which are usable but with a fantasy shape. Near my home is a restaurant which, from the outside, is askew with weird rooflines. Inside, the floor are normal and you comfortably enjoy your meal. A water tower shaped and painted like an apple or peach is another example.

      Peach Water Tower image courtesy Wikipedia

      The Peachoid is a water tower, in Gaffney, South Carolina. At 150 feet tall, it’s visible for several miles on I-85. Built in 1981, the water board needed a unique tower so Federal funding would be available for the construction. Peach orchards were the mainstay of Gaffney economy. They wanted to make a statement that their Cherokee County produced more peaches annually than the entire state of Georgia, "The Peach State".

      The UFO Bus Station in Kirelce, Poland is another example.

      UFO Bus Station image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Eccentric structures, including many castles and mansions are quite eccentric, but were purposefully built to be residences, therefore they are not follies. This indicates that Korner’s Folly, listed as a U.S. folly in tomorrow’s blog, is not a folly, but by name and classification it is a folly.

    • Structures that failed to fulfill the use for which they were built are often called "follies". They may have been foolishly designed, but architecturally they are not follies.

    • Visonary art leaves the natural, physical world. Structures of visionary art make it hard to distinguish between folly and artwork, for we don‘t know if the artist intended the them to be functional, or not.

      Watts Towers in Los Angeles are an example. Built by Simon Rodia over a 33 year period, the 17 towers are built of found materials and are a work of art.

      Watts Towers image courtesy Wikipedia

      To read more about the towers, Wikipedia has a good article, including photos.

      Ferdinand Cheval’s Le Palais Idéal is another example of visionary art. Considered a folly, everything is constructed with extreme impracticality, but the buildings are useful ~ thus a non-follie.

      Palais Ideal image courtesy Wikipedia

      The Le Palais Idéal official website has more information. While You Tube has a 2 minute stroll through the Palace.

    • Amusement parks and expositions can have fantastical structures. Some are follies, some aren’t. When shops and restaurants are housed in eccentric structures, they are not follies. But when a fake structure’s only purpose is decoration, it is a folly.

    • Many grand estates had picturesque ruins, while others constructed their own. Even these sometimes had practical uses, such as hunting towers or storm shelters. If so, they aren’t follies. Like visionary art, but often centuries old, we don’t know what original use they might have had..

    Tomorrow, a listing of U.S. follies…

    June 23, 2009 05:40 - Follies ~ Part V, Follies in the U.S.

    Again, these are classified as follies, but to me, some are novelty architecture. You decide.

    • Belvedere Castle, Central Park, New York City was begun in 1865, as an overlook of the Park. An interesting side note is the castle being used for the exterior shots for Count von Count on Sesame Street

      Belvedere Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Bishop Castle, outside Pueblo, Colorado, on the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway, construction began in 1971 with a large cistern surrounded with rocks. When neighbors notice it looked something like a castle, Bishop began building his castle. Construction continues today, with a ballroom, a dragon shaped furnace, and a chapel.

      Bishop’s Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Cookie Jar House, Glendora, New Jersey, was built in 1947. The three-story home has a spiral staircase in the center and all the rooms are semi-circular. The jar’s lid is a widow’s walk.

      Cookie Jar House image courtesy This Old House

    • Dutch Mill Filling Station, Heafford Junction, Wisconsin, built in the hayday of exotic service stations.

      Dutch Mill Service Station image courtesy Wisconsin

    • Körner’s Folly in Kernersville, North Carolina, built in 1878, is an eccentric home of 22 rooms with seven levels on three floors. The ceiling srange in height from 5 ½ feet to 25 feet, no two doorways are alike, but all are 10 foot, while the corridors are only 2 foot wide.

      Körner’s Folly image courtesy Vance Garvin

    • Lawson Tower, a 1902 folly in Scituate, Massachusetts is a water tower surrounded by a wood facade. There’s an observation deck at the top.

      Lawson Tower image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Lucy the Elephant, Margate City, New Jersey, is an 1882 construction of wood with tin sheeting, built to attract tourism and sell real estate. Lucy is six-stories tall, and claims to be the oldest example of zoomorphic architecture.

      Lucy the Elephant image courtesy Wikipedia

    Coming tomorrow, the fantastically, funny Fantasy Buildings in the U.S. …

    June 24, 2009 06:13 - Follies ~ Part VI, Fantasy Buildings in the U.S.

    Fantasy, or novelty, buildings are a type of non-follie. They have a fantasy shape but were designed with a specific, usable purpose in mind. A folly was, instead, deliberately designed with no usable purpose.

    • The Airplane Service Station, also known as the Powell Airplane, was built in 1930 in Powell, Tennessee, with another in Paris, Tennessee

      Airplane Service Station image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Bancroft Tower, in Worcester, Massachusetts, was built in 1900, as a memorial, to look like a miniature feudal castle.

      Bancroft Tower image courtesy Anatoli Lvov, Wikipedia

    • The Big Duck, Flanders, Long Island, New York, built in 1931 by a duck farmer to sell his ducks and duck eggs. In 2006, it was a land development office, where the duck farm was being subdivided.

      The Big Duck image courtesy Wikipedia

    • The Bondurant Pharmacy in Lexington, Kentucky, is a drug store opened in 1974 that is built in the shape of a giant mortar and pestle

      Boudurant Pharmacy image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Broken Angel House, Brooklyn, New York, a 4-story tenement purchased by artist, Arthur Wood, in 1972. Wood added 5 stories while converting the tenement into an example of folk architecture. The city is currently trying to demolish the building as unsafe.

      Broken Angel House image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Catsup Bottle Water Tower, in Collinsville, Illinois, is proclaimed the ‘World’s Largest Catsup Bottle’, standing 170 feet tall. Collinsville also claims to be the "Horseradish Capital of the World", producing 85% of the world’s horseradish. Of such high quality, it is exported to Germany and China for gourmet use.

      Catsup Bottle Water Tower image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Chateau Laroche, also known as Loveland Castle, in Loveland, Ohio, began in 1929, and is now a museum. It also houses the Knights of the Golden Trail, started in 1927, whose only vows are the Ten Commandments.

      Chateau Laroche, Loveland Castle image courtesy Conlon TT, Wikipedia

    • The Coffee Pot in Bedford, Pennsylvania, was built in 1927 as a lunch stand

      The Coffee Pot, Bedford image courtesy Wikipedia

    • The Coffee Pot in Roanoke, Virginia, built in 1936, a stucco coffee pot sits on the roof of the only remaining roadhouse in the Roanoke Valley. Having eaten many a lunch there, I find the vertical logs painted black, with the chinking painted white, much more exciting than the coffeepot on the roof.

      The Coffee Pot, Roanoke image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Coney Island Stand, in Bailey, Colorado, was built in 1966

      Coney Island Stand image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Haines Shoe House, in Hallem, Pennsylvania, was built by a shoe salesman in 1948 as a form of advertising

      Shoe House image courtesy Wikipedia

    • The House on the Rock, in Spring Green, Wisconsin, opened in 1959, planned originally as a Japanese pagoda, it soon expanded into a complex of unique rooms, streets, gardens, and shops and is now one of the biggest tourist attractions in Wisconsin.

      House on the Rock image courtesy CBS News

      A visitor‘s view of 150 photos both within and outside the house. From the photos, the House is beyond description.

    • LaCrosse Brewery in LaCrosse, Wisconsin turned their plain, old holding tanks into works of art, advertising their brew.

      LaCrosse Brewery image courtesy Essential Architecture

    • Longaberger Basket, Newark, Ohio, houses their headquarters.

      Longaberger Headquarters image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Shell Service Station, built by Shell Oil in 1930, introducing Shell Oil to North Carolina, in Winston-Salem is an example of novelty architecture. Possibly to compete with the existing Wadham’s Oil and Grease stations.

      The August 26 & 27, 2008 , blogs tell of the seashell and Shell Service Stations.

      Shell Service Station image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Teapot Dome Service Station, built in Zillah, Washington, in 1922, was meant to be a reminder of the Teapot Dome Scandal, involving Teapot Dome, Wyoming, about leasing government oil reserves.

      Teapot Service Station image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Wadham’s Oil and Grease, Japanese pagoda, between 1917 and 1930 over 100 of these were built. They are a good example of Japonism and using architecture for brand identity.

      Wadham’s Gas Station image courtesy Wikipedia

    • The Winchester House, located in San Jose, California is renowned for it’s sheer size and utter lack of planning. Built by the widow of William Winchester, of repeating rifle fame, it was under continuous construction from 1884 until 1922, when she died.

      Winchester House image courtesy Wikipedia

      Believing the advice of a medium, Sarah Winchester keep the construction going night and day for 28 years. She incorporated the number 13 and spider webs throughout the house. Chandeliers hold 13, not 12, candle holders. A Tiffany window has a spider web pattern with 13 different colored stones. A topiary tree in the gardens is shaped as the number 13. Every Friday the 13th the large bell on the property is rung 13 times at 13:00 (1 P.M.) and flashlight tours are conducted after dark.

      The house has 47 fireplaces, 10,000 window panes, 17 chimneys, two basements, and three elevators, plus doors and stairways that lead nowhere.

    You may have been wondering how the side trail to Follies ever got started, or even the castles. Every bride wants her wedding day to have special touches. To replicate a miniaturized castle from cardboard and have it either outside or inside where you reception is held, is a really big touch.

    And if you know your clan and what the various clan castles looked like, to have your own historic castle replicated, with a family coat of arms, or heraldic symbols on the castle, is even more exciting.

    The information on follies is completed, and it’s time to complete the castles of Scotland. So tomorrow, on to the castles of South Ayrshire…

    June 25, 2009 08:03 - Castles of Scotland ~ Shetland

    For most of us our knowledge of Shetland is ponies and puppies, but not as a dog and pony show ~ that’s held as part of the Lilac Festival on Mackinaw Island, Michigan.

    The dog ~

    Shetland Sheepdog image courtesy Wikipedia

    The November 6, 2008 blog is about the Shetland Sheepdog

    The pony ~

    Shetland Pony image courtesy Wikipedia

    A blog about the horses and ponies of Scotland is in the works and will be published shortly after the castle series is complete.

    Shetland is the most northerly inhabited island off the northeast coast of Scotland.

    Shetland Island location image courtesy Wikipedia

    Until 1970, it was Zetland. The Norse name was Hjaltland. In Old Norse Hjalt meant the hilt or cross guard of a sword. Possibly because The Shetlands acted as a buffer between Norway and the rest of Scotland.

    In early Irish literature, which is pre-Norse, Shetland is Inse Catt, the Isle of the Cats. There was a tribe named Cat. On the Scottish mainland, their name can also be found in Caithness and in the Gaelic name for Sutherland, Cataibh which means among the Cats.

    Shetland has about 100 islands, but only 15 have inhabitants. Mostly the islands are homes to one of the largest bird colonies in the North Atlantic.

    In the 9th and 10th century, the Norse Vikings colonized England, Scotland, Shetland, Orkney, the Hebrides, the Isle of Man, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland. The Norwegians followed a northern route to the less populous islands, while the Danes went south to England, and the Swedes went east.

    After the Battle of Largs in October 1263, King Håkon of Norway died. His death halted the Viking expansion into Scotland. In the 1266 Treaty of Perth, Norway surrendered the Isle of Man and the Hebrides, but maintained sovereignty over Orkney and Shetland. In trade negotiations in 1223, between England and Norway, Norway had agreed to make peace with Scotland. In return mutual free trade was established.

    So how did Shetland and Orkney become part of Scotland? When King Christian I of Denmark and Norway betrothed his daughter Margaret to James III of Scotland in 1468, he pawned the islands to pay her dowry.

    For the next four centuries, the Shetlanders traded with the German merchantmen of Bergen, Bremen, Lubeck, and Hamburg. The Germans bought salted cod and ling from Shetland. The Shetlanders received cash, grain, cloth, beer, and other goods. In 1707 the Act of Union prohibited the Germans trading with the Shetlanders. Instead local merchant-lairds built their own fish export business. As they succeeded, the independent fishermen of Shetland came under the merchant-lairds control until the 1886 Crofters’ Holdings Act emancipated the men from the rule of landlords.

    In World War II, the Shetland Bus was a special operation of the Norwegian navy. Norwegian fishermen operated 30 refugee fishing vessels from the Shetlands. The boats carried intelligence agents, refugees, resistance instructors, and military supplies in covert operations to Norway. These vessels made 80 trips , with a loss of 10 beats, r44 crewmen, and 60 refugees. So faster vessels were procured, including three American submarine chasers. All told the Shetland Bus made over 200 trips. Leif Andreas Larsen of Norway, known as Shetland Larsen, made 52 of the trips.

    Today, the East Shetland Basin is one of the largest petroleum basins in Europe and is the largest export harbor in the United Kingdom. Though sheep farming and fishing also play an important economic role.

    And now, after that brief but rich history, to the castles of Shetland ~

    • Muness Castle, Z-plan tower house with walled courtyard, 1598, ruin

      Muness Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

      Muness Castle lies near the rocky headland of Mu Ness and is the most northerly fortalice in the BritishIsles. A fortalice is a small fort, whereas a big fort is called a fortress.

      There are similarities between Muness Castle, Scalloway Castle, and the Earls’ Castle on Orkney. All were built around the same time, by the same family, and all were designed by Andrew Crawford.

      In 1627 French raiders attacked and burned Muness Castle. Though repaired, by 1700 the castle was no longer occupied. The Dutch East India Company rented the castle in 1713, to house the salvaged cargo from the nearby wreck Rhynenburgh. In 1718, the Bruce family sold the castle and it was roofless by 1774.

      Yet among the ruins, over the door, you can still read the words of Laurence, the Bruce

      Door Mantle, Muness Castle

      List ye to knaw yis building quha began,
      Laurence the Bruce he was that worthy man,
      Quha ernestly his airis and ofspring prayis
      To help and not to hurt this vork alwayis.
      The zeir of God 1598.

      Loosely translated ~

      Know this building was begun
      by Laurence the Bruce, a worthy man,
      who hopes his heirs and offsprings will help,
      not hurt this work.
      The year of God 1598.

    • Scalloway Castle, tower house, 1600, ruins

      Built by Patrick Stewart to tighten his grip on Shetland, the castle is surrounded be the sea on three sides.

      Scalloway Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

      Robert Stewart, an illegitimate son of Jame V was given the Earldom of Orkneh and Scotland in 1564. He left the everyday running of Shetland to his half-brother, Laurence Bruce, Sheriff of Shetland.

      When Robert died in 1593, his son Patrick took a more direct interest in Shetland, causing Laurence Bruce to fear for his position so that he built Muness Castle. The next year, Patrick began Scalloway Castle.

      Scalloway Castle was the administrative center for Shetland. Oliver Cromwell’s troops were barracked here in the 1650’s. By 1700 the roof was leaking. In 1754 much of the stone from the out buildings were used to build a nearby mansion.

    Coming tomorrow, the castles of Stirling…

    June 26, 2009 08:13 - Castles of Scotland ~ Stirling

    The city of Stirling lies beside the River Forth. As it lies near the boundary between the Lowlands and Highlands, it has been the "Gateway to the Highlands" for centuries. Before modern bridges were built, Stirling has been the last crossing of the river before it empties into the Firth of Forth on the North Sea.

    The city spread from a large fortress built atop a naturally defensible crag and tail. A crag is a rocky block protruding from the surrounding terrain. As a glacier retreats, softer material remains as a gradual fan or ridge that forms a tapered ramp, called a tail, up the leeward side of the crag. Some examples of crag and tail formations are

    • The Castle Rock in Edinburgh, on which sits Edinburgh Castle
    • Salisbury Crags and Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
    • Three in or near Sterling
    • North Berwick Law

    The origin of the name Stirling is not certain. One thought is a Scots or Gaelic word meaning ‘the place of battle, strife, or struggle. Another claims it’s a Brythonic word meaning ‘the dwelling place of Melyn’. Melyn is a Welsh word, basically meaning yellow, as in a melon.

    On the town’s seal is their motto since 1296 ~

    Stirling Motto

    Hic Armis Bruti
    Scoti Stant Hic Cruce Tuti

    Translated as ‘The Britons stand by force of arms,
    The Scots are by this cross preserved from harms

    Near the castle is the Church of the Holy Rood (Cross), built in the1400’s. Besides Westminster Abbey, this is the only surviving church to have held a coronation, James VI, the infant son of Mary, Queen of Scots, was crowned here in 1567.

    The Battle of Stirling was fought in the town center in 1648. The city also played a strategic role during the 18th century Jacobite Risings. In 1746, the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie seized the town, but failed to take the castle.

    Economically, the city's port traded in tea from India and timber trade with the Baltics.

    The William Wallace monument stands on Abbey Craig, near Stirling.

    William Wallace Monument image courtesy Wikipedia

    William Wallace Plaque image courtesy Wikipedia

    The castles of Stirling ~

    • Buchanan Castle, L-plan tower house, called the Buchanan Auld House, was held by the Lairds of Buchanan from 1225 to 1681.

      Buchanan Auld House Stirling image courtesy Photos by Eleanor

      Purchased by the 3rd Marquess of Montrose (1657–1684) to replace his burned home, becoming the principal seat of Clan Montrose. Destroyed by fire in 1852, a Scottish Baronial Castle was commissioned to replace the Auld House. Also replaced Mugdock Castle as the official seat of Clan Graham. Though no Buchanan ever lived in the castle, it was occupied by the Duke of Montrose, a Graham title.

      Buchanan Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

      Sold in 1925, during World War II the castle served as a hospital. The most infamous guest was Rodolf Hess. Deroofed to avoid taxes, deterioration set in, currently in ruin.

    • Craigend Castle, home of the Barons of Culcreuch since 1699, sold to the Smith family in mid-17th century. John Smith, founder of booksellers John Smith & Son, was born at Craigend. His son incorporated the castle into a Regency Gothic style mansion. Became an exotic animal zoo for five years in 1949, then a hotel in the 1980’s. Now in ruins on the grounds of Mugdock County Park.

      Craigend Castle image courtesy Glasgow University Library

    • Culcreuch Castle, rectangular tower house, 1296, with 1721 extensions

      Clan seat of Clan Galbraith 1320 to 1624, sold, resold in 1632 to the Napier family who held the estate for five generations. In 1654 Cromwell garrisoned troop in the castle. Sold in 1796, again in 1890. Walter Menzies purchased the castle in 1901, held by the Menzies family until 1984. Currently a hotel.

      Culcreuch Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Doune Castle, late 14th century, it is one of few castles from a single building period that has survived mostly unchanged and complete, in ruins by 1800.

      Doune Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

      Passed from Robert Stewart, Duke to Albany, to the crown, to the Earls of Moray. Saw military action during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, Glencairn’s Rising, and the Jacobite Risings. Used as the location for the 1974 film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

    • Edinample Castle, Z-plan tower house, late 16th century, extended in 18th and 20th centuries, derelict by 1970, rebuilt as a private residence..

      Edinample Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

      Originally built by ‘Black’ Duncan Campbell, it’s said he pushed the castle’s builder from the roof ~ partly to avoid paying him, but also because the builder did not construct the requested ramparts. Of course, legend declares the builder’s ghost walks the roof.

    • Mugdock Castle, tower house, possibly built by Sir David de Graham who died in 1396, 17th century mansion demolished and replaced in 1875 with a Scottish Baronial Mansion. During World War II the government used the castle. Partially demolished in 1967, the remaining tower is a museum on grounds of Mugdock County Park, as is Craigend Castle. Stronghold of Clan Graham from c. 1250.

      Mugdock Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

    • Plane Tower, tower house, 1430, manor house addition 1528, in ruins by 19th century, restored and made habitable, currently a hotel and events venue, also known as Plean Castle and Menzies Castle. Located on the edge of the Bannockburn Battlefield.

      Plane Castle image courtesy About Scotland

    • Stirling Castle, early 12th century, with additions in 1380 and between 1490 to 1600. The first known building was a chapel dedicated by King Alexander I in 1110. For a chapel to be dedicated by the king, a royal center would have already been established. Alexander died here in 1124.

      Known poetically as Snowdoun, both historically and architecturally, Stirling Castle is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland. Many Kings and Queens have been crowned at Stirling, the most famous being Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1543.

      Stirling was the principal royal center for the Stewart kings, James IV, V, and VI. From 1800 to 1964, the castle was owned by the War Office and served as barracks and recruiting depot for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

      Stirling Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

      Though I’ve not located a date, a John Deamean met his demise while attempting to fly from the castle to France.

    Monday, a recipe for Queen Mary’s Tarts which were likely served at Stirling Castle…

    June 29, 2009 06:36 - Queen Mary’s Tart

    While we’re at Stirling Castle, this favorite dessert of Mary, Queen of Scots, was likely served at the castle. This could be a nice Scottish addition to a shower, party, or reception.

    Queen Mary’s Tart

    8 oz puff pastry
    2 tablespoons jam
    2 oz sugar
    2 oz butter
    2 oz chopped mixed peel
    1 tablespoon sultanas (raisins)
    2 eggs, beaten

    Set oven to 425 deg F.
    Roll out the pastry on a floured surface.
    Line a 7 inch greased flan dish.
    Spread the jam over the pastry base.
    Melt the sugar and butter in a saucepan over very low heat.
    Add the mixed peel and sultanas.

    Remove from the heat and mix in the beaten eggs.
    Pour into the pastry shell.
    Bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set and golden brown.
    Serve hot or cold as a pudding with whipping cream or cold and sliced for tea time.

    Tomorrow, back to the castles of South Ayrshire…

    June 30, 2009 07:35 - Castles of Scotland ~ South Ayrshire

    • Baltersan Castle, L-plan tower house, late 16th century. A panel over the entrance is inscribed

      This house was begun
      the first day of March 1584
      by John Kennedy of Pennyglen
      and Margaret Cathcart, his spouse

      Baltersan Castle image courtesy Rampant Scotland

      In 1721 the estate passed to Captain Hugh Arbuthnot, a cousin of John Kennedy of Baltersan. By the mid-18t century, the castle lay abandoned.

    • Barr Castle, tower house, also called Lockhart Tower, owned by Lockhart of Barr, c.1400-1542, has been a wool store and a Masonic hall

      Barr Castle image courtesy Bed and Breakfast Directory Scotland

      A marble plaque above the SW doorway states

      The Scottish reformers
      George Wishart and John Knox
      preached in this place -
      AD 1545 and 1556 respectively

      They had been denied the right to preach in church.

    • Blairquhan Castle, pronounced blehr-hoowahn, tower house 1346, built by the McWhirters, inherited by marriage by the Kennedys who extended the old castle about 1573, sold to the Blairs in 1798, castle extended into a Scottish Baronial castle c. 1798

      Blairquhan Castle image courtesy Blairquhan Castle

      Sir James Hunter-Blair, 8th Baronet (1926-2004) was a horticulturist and forester of note. He spent most of his life restoring the castle and preserving the grounds, among which are many hundreds-year old trees. One ancient sycamore standing near the castle is thought to be a dule tree planted in the early 1500’s during the reign of James V. Dule trees will be reported on after the castle series is completed next week.

      On a clear day Ailsa Craig can be seen in the distance. Ailsa Craig was blogged January 20 to 27, 2009.

      Lying close to the legendary Open Championship golf courses at Troon and Turnberry, the castle and 2,000 acre estate are available for private functions.

      The estate has been used as a location for the U.K> television program Beauty and the Geek and the 2005 film , starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth.

    • Culzean Castle, pronounced cull-ane, an L-plan tower house built for David Kennedy, 10th Earl of Cassilis, expanded between 1777 and 1792, designed by Robert Adam. Lastly, it was the home of the Marquess of Ailsa. The castle grounds are now Culzean Castle County Park, with the castle available for private functions.

      Culzean Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

      In 1945, to avoid inheritance tax, the Kennedy family gave the castle to the National Trust for Scotland, while stipulating the top floor apartment be given to Dwight David Eisenhower in recognition of his role as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. A small Eisenhower museum is in the castle.

      The Ayrshire Yeomanry, also called Earl of Carricks Own Yeomanry, was formed by the Earl of Cassillis at Culzean Castle c. 1794.

      In 1987, an illustration of the castle was added on the reverse side of five pound notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

      In the 1973 movie The Wicker Man the castle was used as the ancestral home of Lord Summerisle. The team of the television program Most Haunted explored the castle in 2002.

      A computer theme and possibly a screensaver for this castle is available from Tartan Themes.

    • Dundonald Castle, tower house, 1371, for Robert II, upon his ascension to the throne, used by the Stewart kings for 150 years. Built over an older hill fort with timber lacing stone rampart. The timber lacing caught fire, c. 1000, burning so intensely the stonework melted and vitrified.

      Three Medieval castles were built on the site. The first for Walter, the first steward to the kings of Scotland, in 1136. The second, a late 13th century tone structure, was built by Alexander Stewart, 4th steward. It was a Scottish Baronial mansion and one of the grandest of its time. Destroyed by the English during the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century.

      Dundonald Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

      The third castle was built by Robert Stewart, most likely making his accession to the throne in 1371. It was extended in the 15th century.

      In Ayrshire an old rhyme is still well known, alluding to an old folktale about the construction of Dundonald Castle.

      Donald Din
      Built his house without a pin

      This alludes to Dundonald Castle, which was built by a hero named Donald Din, or Din Donald, and constructed entirely of stone, without the use of wood. Originally a poor man, Din Donald could dream lucky dreams. In one of his dreams, which repeated itself two more times the same night, if he went to London Bridge, he would become a wealthy man. He went, and seeing another man they conversed. Din Donald told the other man why he had come to the bridge. The stranger told him that was foolish, for he’d also had such a dream directing him to a specific spot in Ayrshire. The stranger never considered following up on the dream.

      Din Donald realized the treasure was located in his own kail-yard, or cabbage patch. Hurrying home, he may have destroyed his cabbage patch, he found a potful of gold coin, with which he build the castle.

    • Dunure Castle, tower house, 15th century, by 1694 the castle was in ruins, owned by the Marquis of Ailsa Dunure

      The earliest known charter for the lands is from 1256. One legend tells of the castle being built by the Danes. Another legends claims the MacKinnons were rewarded the castle for their valor at the Battle of Largs. Either way, it’s the point of origin for the Kennedys of Carrick who were granted much land in southwestern Scotland in 1357.

      Dunure Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

      In 1537, Gilbert Kennedy, 4th Earl of Cassilis, and Allan Stewart, the lay commentator of Crossraguel Abbey began disputing the ownership of some abbey land and it’s rental income. In 1570,Gilbert and sixteen men caught Allan in Crossraguel Woods, tricked him into Dunure Castle. When Allan refused to sign over the lands and rentals, Gilbert tortured Allan, roasting and basting his feet, with the help of his cook, baker, and pantry men. Allan caved and signed over the lands to Gilbert. Allan was rescued by his brother-in-law, the Laird of Bargany. The rights of the abbey lands were settled, including Gilbert providing Allan with sufficient funds for him to live comfortably the rest of his life. Allan Stewart never walked again. Gilbert Kennedy was never brought before the Privy Council.

      A cavern, called Browney’s Cave, lies beneath the castle. It my have been a sally-port, used as a secret tunnel leading into the castle.

      The castle may have been ruined to build the Cromwellian citadel. Census records show some rooms being occupied by fishermen. A large heap of mussel shells are evidence of baiting cod lines.

    • Glenapp Castle, estate purchased from the Earl of Orkney in 1864, extended into a Scottish Baronial castle in 1870. Sold to the McMillan family in 1994, presently an exclusive luxury hotel.

      Glenapp Castle image courtesy Scottish Castle Hotel

    • Greenan Castle, tower house, 16th century

      Greenan Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

      The lintel inscription reads

      JK 1603 FMD
      for John Kennedy of Baltersan
      and his third wife, Florence MacDowell

      They owned the lands, Greenan Mill, and salmon fishing rights on the River Doon.

    • Penkill Castle, tower house, 16th century, with 19th century additions, built by the Boyds, in disrepair by 1950.

      Penkill Castle image courtesy Penkill Castle

      C. 1850’s, the Pre-Raphaelite artist William Bell Scott was befriended by the owner, Alice Boyd. She commissioned him to paint a series of murals showing James I, in his autobiographical poem The Kingis Quair. Another frequent visitor was poet Christina Rossetti, who was quoted as saying

      Even Naples in imagination cannot efface
      the quiet fertile comeliness of Penkill in reality

    • Sundrum Castle, tower house, c.1360’s, by Duncan Wallace, major alterations 1790, by the Hamiltons

      Sir Robert Wallace, a relative of William Wallace, the Scottish freedom fighter, was appointed Sherriff of Ayr in 1342. In 1359 we was succeeded by his son Duncan. Before 1384, passed to Sir Alan de Cathcart, becoming the family seat until 1753. Purchased by the Hamiltons and held until 1917. Purchased by Earnest Coats, the thread manufacturer from Paisley. An area called the "Coats House" was added. Sold in 1936, it’s currently a luxury hotel.

    • Thomaston Castle, tower house, 1335 and 16th century addition when owned by the Corries of Kelwood, passed by marriage to the MacIlvaines of Grimmet, abandoned c. 1800

      Thomaston Castle image courtesy Chatelaine/Scott McElvain

    • Turnberry Castle

      Turnberry Castle image courtesy Maybole/Andres Spratt

      Held by the Earls of Galloway, passed to the Earls of Carrick c. 1200. Marjorie, the widowed Countess of Carrick, owned the castle in the late 1200’s.

      The Legend of Marjorie
      In 1271, Marjorie held a visiting knight,
      Robert de Brus of Annadale, captive
      until he agreed to marry the widow.

      The castle and the earldom both passed to Robert. Their first son, named Robert, was born in 1274. He became Robert I, King of Scotland.

      On September 20, 1286, several Scottish barons who supported Robert as the successor to the crown met secretly at Turnberry Castle. In 1307 Robert attempted to recover the captured castle from the English. In 1310 Robert ordered the destruction of the castle to prevent the English re-acquiring the castle. The ruins were never rebuilt.

      A fortress of great size and strength, surrounded on three sides by the sea. Caves leading out into the sea are thought to have served as a harbor for the castle. An 1873 lighthouse on the site still stands.

    Coming tomorrow, July Highland Games…

    May 2009 «  » July 2009


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