Scottish Architecture.

The Beauty of buildings in Scotland. in many forms.

Scottish Architecture. (Craigmillar Castle).

Craigmillar Castle is a ruined medieval castle in EdinburghScotland. It is three miles (4.8 km) south-east of the city centre, on a low hill to the south of the modern suburb of Craigmillar. The Preston family of Craigmillar, the local feudal barons, began building the castle in the late 14th century and building works continued through the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1660, the castle was sold to Sir John Gilmour, Lord President of the Court of Session, who breathed new life into the ageing castle. The Gilmours left Craigmillar in the 18th century for a more modern residence, nearby Inch House, and the castle fell into ruin. It is now in the care of Historic Environment Scotland as a scheduled monument, and is open to the public.

Craigmillar Castle is best known for its association with Mary, Queen of Scots. Following an illness after the birth of her son, the future James VI, Mary arrived at Craigmillar on 20 November 1566 to convalesce. Before she left on 7 December 1566, a pact known as the “Craigmillar Bond” was made, with or without her knowledge, to dispose of her husband Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.

Craigmillar is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Scotland. The central tower house, or keep, is surrounded by a 15th-century courtyard wall with “particularly fine” defensive features. Within this are additional ranges, and the whole is enclosed by an outer courtyard wall containing a chapel and a doocot (dovecote).



The lands of Craigmillar were granted to the monks of Dunfermline Abbey by King David I in the 12th century. The Preston family were first granted land in the area by King David II in 1342 and held 2/3 of the estate. In a further grant of 1374, King Robert II gave the remaining lands of Craigmillar to Sir Simon de Preston, Sheriff of Midlothian. It was Simon’s son, Simon Preston, or his grandson, Sir George Preston, who began work on the tower house which now forms the core of the castle. This was in place by 1425, when a charter was sealed at Craigmillar by Sir John Preston. The courtyard wall was probably added by Sir William Preston (d. 1453), who had travelled in France, and drew on continental inspiration for his new work. He also brought back the arm of Saint Giles, which he presented to the High Kirk of Edinburgh, where the Preston Aisle is named for him. In 1479, John Stewart, Earl of Mar, brother of King James III was held prisoner at Craigmillar, accused of practising witchcraft against the King. He later died in suspicious circumstances.

16th century

In 1511 Craigmillar was erected into a barony, and the outer courtyard was built around this time, possibly by another Simon Preston (d.1520), Member of Parliament for Edinburgh in 1487, who had succeeded in 1478. In September 1517, during an outbreak of plague in Edinburgh, the infant James V of Scotland moved to safety at Craigmillar. His French guardian De la Bastie had new locks made for his chamber and the two iron gates, and a stable was built for the king’s mule. The family chapel within the outer court was first recorded in 1523. During the so-called Rough Wooing of Henry VIII of England, the English attempted to impose, by military force, a marriage between Edward, Prince of Wales, and the young Mary, Queen of Scots. Craigmillar Castle was burned by English troops under the Earl of Hertford on 8 May, after he had sacked EdinburghSir Simon Preston (d.1569) had the castle repaired, with domestic ranges in the courtyard being remodelled. Preston served as Lord Provost of Edinburgh for several years, and was a loyal supporter of Queen Mary, who appointed him to her Privy Council.

Mary, Queen of Scots, and her husband Lord Darnley, whose murder was arranged at Craigmillar

Queen Mary stayed at Craigmillar twice In September 1563 she met the English ambassador Thomas Randolph at the castle, with the Earl of Moray and William Maitland. She stayed from 20 November to 7 December 1566, still in poor health following a serious illness in October, and, according to Philibert du Croc, suffering from depression. She gave an audience to a diplomat from SavoyJean, Count de Brienne, who had arrived for the baptism of Prince James. Mary is traditionally said to have slept in the small former kitchen within the tower house, although it is more likely that she occupied larger accommodation in the relatively new east range.

Several of her noblemen were with her at Craigmillar in November 1566, and suggested to her that her unpopular husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, could be removed, either by divorce or by other means. An agreement, the “Craigmillar Bond”, was signed by Mary’s Secretary of State William Maitland of Lethington, and several nobles including the earls of BothwellArgyll and Huntly. The bond does not survive, but set out the conspirator’s intent to remove Darnley. Although Mary made it clear that she was unhappy with Darnley, she was not part of the conspiracy, and was probably unaware of the plot to kill her husband. It was initially intended that Darnley would lodge at Craigmillar when he returned to Edinburgh, although he opted to stay at Kirk o’ Field in the town, where he was murdered on 10 February 1567.

During the Marian Civil War, Captain Melville and two of his soldiers, who fought for Mary’s cause, were killed in the grounds of the castle on 2 June 1571 when a barrel of gunpowder exploded. In 1572, Regent Mar used Craigmillar as a base while besieging Edinburgh Castle, which was held by supporters of the exiled Queen. Stable were built for a company of light horsemen.

King James VI visited Craigmillar himself when he was the guest of Sir David Preston. In September 1589 James had been at Seton Palace expecting the arrival of Anne of Denmark, and came to Craigmillar still waiting for news of his bride, “as a kind lover spends the time in sighing”. It was at Craigmillar that he decided to sail to Norway to meet his Queen, delayed by contrary winds. In 1591, Agnes Sampson was accused of placing a charmed wax image in a dovecote at Craigmillar to help her friend Barbara Napier.

The Gilmours

Sir John Gilmour bought Craigmillar in 1660

On the death of Sir Robert Preston in 1639, Craigmillar passed to a distant cousin, David Preston of Whitehill. His son sold the castle out of the family, and it was bought by Sir John Gilmour (d.1671) in 1660, who purchased the neighbouring estate of The Inch at the same time A Royalist, Gilmour was rewarded following the Restoration of King Charles II, becoming Lord President of the Court of Session in 1661. He remodelled the west range to provide more modern accommodation in the 1660s, but in the early 18th century, the Gilmours left the castle for Inch House, just west of Craigmillar. It was claimed that two of the laird’s daughters continued to live in Craigmillar Castle after the rest of the family had left. Afterwards, Craigmillar Castle formed a romantic feature in the park of the Inch estate. It was ruined by 1775, when the antiquarian and poet John Pinkerton wrote Craigmillar Castle: an Elegy. The castle became a popular tourist attraction from the late 18th century, and was drawn by numerous artists. A proposal to renovate the building for the use of Queen Victoria was put forward in 1842, but came to nothing. Victoria herself visited the castle in 1886, and much restoration work was undertaken by its then owner, Walter James Little Gilmour (d.1887).

Craigmillar Castle has been in state care since 1946, and is now maintained by Historic Environment Scotland. The castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the grounds of the castle are included on the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, the national register of historic gardens.


Ground floor plan of Craigmillar Castle.
Key: A=Kitchen, B=Dining Room, C=Chamber, D=Tower entrance, E=Tower cellars, F=East range cellars

At the core of Craigmillar Castle is the 14th-century L-plan tower house, built on a rocky outcrop. Wrapped around this is the 15th-century courtyard wall, with ranges of buildings at the south-east, east, and west. Beyond the wall is a lower outer wall, enclosing a broad outer courtyard. This contained gardens and a chapel. Further gardens lay to the south, where the outline of a fish pond can be seen.

The tower house

The four-storey tower forms the keep of the castle, although it originally stood alone. It measures 15.8 metres (52 ft) by 11.6 metres (38 ft), with a projecting wing, or jamb, of 8.5 metres (28 ft) by 3.5 metres (11 ft), to the south. The walls are up to 3.3 metres (11 ft) thick, and the second and fourth storeys have vaulted ceilings. The tower is built on the edge of a rock outcrop, with the original entrance door protected by a natural cleft in the rock. This would have been spanned by a wooden bridge, until it was filled in when the curtain wall was built. Above the door are the arms of the Preston family. A stair leads up from the entrance to a guard room in the jamb, which would probably have had “murder holes” through which missiles could be dropped on any attackers who gained entry. At ground floor level are cellars, which formerly had a timber loft above. The dividing wall and doors at either end are later additions.

Upper part of the tower house

On the second floor is the hall, with a kitchen occupying the jamb, and later passages connecting to the east and west ranges. The hall has a large carved stone fireplace of around 1500, and once had a timber ceiling, probably painted. The kitchen was replaced by a larger one in the 16th-century east range, and converted into a bedroom. A smaller fireplace was inserted into the large kitchen hearth, and larger windows added. The next storey, accessed via a spiral stair, contained a windowless room in the vault above the hall ceiling. Above the kitchen is the lord’s bedroom, the only original private chamber in the building. The stairs continue to give access to the parapet walks around the stone-flagged roof. A further storey was added to the jamb in the sixteenth century, containing a single chamber. The exterior of the castle formerly had two timber balconies, or viewing platforms, one overlooking the gardens to the south, and one looking east across the Lothian countryside.

The inner courtyard

Looking up through the machicolations in the curtain wall

The mid-15th-century curtain wall encloses a courtyard around 10 metres (33 ft) across, and is up to 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) thick. Externally, the curtain wall measures 40 metres (130 ft) by 27 metres (89 ft). Round towers are located at each corner, with a postern, or side gate, located at the base of the south-east tower. The towers have keyhole-shaped gun holes, intended for decoration as well as defence. The round-arched gate is in the north wall. Over it are the arms of the Preston family, with the royal arms of Scotland above. The walls are defended by machicolations, spaces through which missiles could be dropped on attackers, and battlement walks give access to the entire length of the wall. On the inside of the wall, traces of windows suggest that there was once a south range of buildings in the courtyard. There is no well in the courtyard, but a stone trough runs through the curtain wall, allowing water to be brought into the castle.

The east range

The east range occupies the south-east and east sides of the inner courtyard. The original east range, contemporary with the courtyard wall, was rebuilt in the 16th century and linked to the tower house by a new, broad spiral stair. The building at the south-east adjoins the tower house, and comprises two chambers on the first floor. Cellars below were occupied by a bakehouse and a possible prison. A corridor connects the tower to large, vaulted kitchens in the east range, also accessible via a straight stair from the courtyard. Another depiction of the Preston family arms, supported by monkeys, appears above the door to the east range. Below the kitchens are vaulted cellars, containing a blocked-up postern gate through the courtyard wall. Above, a long gallery occupied the second floor, although only the lower walls of the gallery survive.

The west range

The west range was entirely rebuilt by the Gilmours, in the 1660s, to provide a spacious suite of modern accommodation, to suit Sir John’s position as a senior judge. The roof slates were brought in 1661 from Stobo, carried by horses from Peebles. The ground floor contained a large central drawing room dining room, with large windows, and a carved stone fireplace. This room would also have had plaster ceilings and other decorative features. To the north was a kitchen, and to the south a chamber, with a wine cellar below. The first floor had four bedrooms. Another new stair was built, connecting the west range with the tower house. The door to this tower has a classical pediment, above which is a 20th-century plaque, erected by a descendant of the Gilmours, and bearing the arms of Sir John Gilmour and his wife. The west range is now roofless, the internal floor is also gone, and the large windows have been blocked up.

The outer court, with the gate on the left, and the main part of the castle centre-right

The outer court and gardens

Thomas Hearne and William Byrne‘s 1782 engraving, dedicated to Sir Alexander Gilmour of Craigmillar Castle.

The outer walls, dating from the early mid-16th century, are smaller and less formidable than the inner walls, but they enclose a much larger area. A round tower at the north-east corner has gun holes and a doocot, or pigeon house, upstairs. The family chapel was built around 1520, and dedicated to St Thomas Becket. It is now a roofless burial aisle, still used by the Gilmour family. Gardens occupied the east and west parts of the courtyard, with the western terrace overlooked by the large windows of the west range. The barn at the north-west of the courtyard was converted into a Presbyterian church, for the village of Liberton, in 1687. South of the castle were informal gardens and orchards, with the bases of 16th-century viewing towers remaining at the corners of this drystone-walled enclosure. The former fish pond, shaped like a letter P for Preston, is a nationally significant archaeological garden feature, due to its rarity. In the 1820s, a plan was drawn up to lay out picturesque landscape gardens between Inch House and the castle, which would have incorporated “Queen Mary’s Tree”, a Sycamore supposedly planted by Mary, Queen of Scots. Much of the woodland within the castle estate dates from the early to mid 19th century.

More Scottish Architecture.

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Scottish Architecture. Churches.

Church architecture in Scotland incorporates all church building within the modern borders of Scotland, from the earliest Christian structures in the sixth century until the present day. The early Christian churches for which there is evidence are basic masonry-built constructions on the west coast and islands. As Christianity spread, local churches tended to remain much simpler than their English counterparts. By the eighth century more sophisticated ashlar block-built buildings began to be constructed. From the eleventh century, there were larger and more ornate Romanesque buildings, as with Dunfermline Abbey and St Magnus Cathedral in Orkney. From the twelfth century the introduction of new monastic orders led to a boom in ecclesiastical building, often using English and Continental forms. From the thirteenth century elements of the European Gothic style began to appear in Scotland, culminating in buildings such as Glasgow Cathedral and the rebuilt Melrose AbbeyRenaissance influences can be seen in a move to a low-massive style that was probably influenced by contacts with Italy and the Netherlands.

The nave of Jedburgh Abbey, one of the most complete Romanesque buildings to survive in Scotland.

Jedburgh Abbey02

From the mid-sixteenth century the Reformation revolutionised church architecture in Scotland. It resulted in a rejection of the elaborate ornamentation of existing churches. New churches were produced in a plain style, often with a T-plan that emphasised the pulpit and preaching. This style was adopted by both Presbyterian and Episcopalian wings of the Scottish Kirk, but there were some attempts to introduce Baroque elements into church building after the Restoration. In the eighteenth century the influence of James Gibbs led to churches that employed classical elements, with a pedimented rectangular plan and often with a steeple. This classicism continued into the early nineteenth century, but became increasingly controversial and began to be rejected for a version of the Gothic Revival, which flourished into the early twentieth century. Between the world wars, a form of Neo-Romanesque became the norm for new churches. In the second half of the twentieth century new churches were highly influenced by Modernism, resulting in rectangular and irregularly shaped buildings, built in new materials, although many of these were later demolished. As the level of new building reduced from the 1970s there was a move to functional and unambitious new churches, but in the 1980s there was a move back to more striking and original designs.

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Scottish Architecture.(st orans)

St Oran’s Chapel (Odhráin/Orain/Odran) is a medieval chapel located on the island of Iona in the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. Built in the 12th century, the chapel was dedicated to St Oran. St Oran’s Chapel was a ruin until the chapel was restored during the same time as Iona Abbey. The chapel is protected as a part of the Iona monastic settlement scheduled monument.

Burial ground.

The burial ground surrounding the chapel is known as Reilig Òdhrain.

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Scottish Architecture. (tower)

The Abernethy Round Tower is a stone-built Irish-style round tower which stands in School Wynd, at the edge of the village cemetery, in AbernethyPerth and Kinross, Scotland.


Dating from the 11th century, the tower is one of only two such towers surviving in Scotland—the other is at Brechin—and is protected as a scheduled monument.

Pictish-symbol stone

The roofless sandstone tower is 22.5 m (73 ft 10 in) high and has a diameter of 4.57 m (15 ft 0 in) at ground level, tapering upwards to 3.96 m (13 ft 0 in). The walls are 1.07 m (3 ft 6 in) thick. The twelve lower layers are of a different coloured stone to the rest of the building, leading to speculation that the base was built earlier than the rest. There are indications that the tower originally had six wooden floors, probably connected by ladders. Fixed to the outside base of the tower is a Pictish stone; the tower also has an iron joug or pillory attached.

Various changes have been made to the tower over the years, including the installation of an iron spiral staircase when it became a lookout tower, windows and an outside clock. The current clock dates from 1868.

Here Malcolm III of Scotland paid homage to William the Conqueror some six years after the Battle of Hastings.

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Scottish Architecture. Brechin Cathedral.

Brechin Cathedral dates from the 13th century. As a congregation of the Church of Scotland, which is Presbyterian, the church is not technically a cathedral, in spite of its name.

It is in the Pointed style, but suffered maltreatment in 1806 at the hands of restorers, whose work was subsequently removed during the restoration completed in 1902. The western gable with its flamboyant window, Gothic door and massive square tower, parts of the (much truncated) choir, and the nave pillars and clerestory are all that is left of the original edifice. The modern stained glass in the chancel is reckoned amongst the finest in Scotland.

The cathedral is a category A listed building and the attached Round Tower is a scheduled monument.

Round Tower

Immediately adjoining the cathedral to the southwest stands the Round Tower, built about A.D. 1000. It is 86 ft.(26.21 m) high, has at the base a circumference of 50 ft.(15.3 m) and a diameter of 16 ft.(4.9 m), and is capped with a hexagonal spire of 18 ft.(5.5 m), added in the 14th century. This type of structure is somewhat common in Ireland, but the only Scottish examples are those at Brechin and Abernethy in Perthshire.

The quality of the masonry is superior to all but a very few of the Irish examples. The narrow single doorway, raised some feet above ground level in a manner common in these buildings, is also exceptionally fine. The door-surround is enriched with two bands of pellets, and the monolithic arch has a well-preserved representation of the Crucifixion. The slightly splayed sides of the doorway (also monolithic) have relief sculptures of ecclesiastics, one of them holding a crosier, the other a Tau-shaped staff.

Two monuments preserved within the cathedral, the so-called ‘Brechin hogback’, and a cross-slab, ‘St. Mary’s Stone’ are further rare and important examples of Scottish 11th century stone sculpture. The hogback combines Celtic and Scandinavian motifs, and is the most complex known stone sculpture in the Ringerike style in Scotland. The inscribed St Mary’s Stone has a circular border round the central motif of the Virgin and Child which echoes that on the Round Tower.


Between 1999 and 2009, Scott Rennie was minister of Brechin Cathedral.

In February 2020, the Presbytery of Angus agreed to a dissolution motion, under which ownership of Brechin Cathedral transferred to the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland, who would shut down and sell the building. Nonetheless, the Brechin 2020 committee planned to mark the 800th anniversary of the cathedral on 7 June 2020. In the event this proved impossible due to Covid restrictions.

The Cathedral closed its doors for the final time as a sanctified church at a special service on 28 November 2021.

Led by Caroline Carnegie, Duchess of Fife, a committee of Trustees has been established to take over accountability for the care and development of the Cathedral with a stated intent to restore it to being a focal point and hub for the community and tourists alike.

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Scottish Architecture.(abbey)

Jedburgh Abbey.

Jedburgh Abbey is a historic ruin located in Jedburgh, a town in the Scottish Borders region of Scotland. It is one of the most significant and well-preserved medieval abbeys in the country. The abbey was founded in the 12th century by King David I of Scotland as a house for Augustinian canons.

Construction of Jedburgh Abbey began around 1138, and the abbey was completed in the 13th century. It was built in the Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles, featuring intricate stonework and beautiful detailing. The abbey served as a center of religious and cultural life in the region for several centuries.

Throughout its history, Jedburgh Abbey witnessed numerous conflicts and attacks. It was damaged and rebuilt multiple times, particularly during the frequent border conflicts between Scotland and England. The abbey suffered significant destruction during the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century.

Today, Jedburgh Abbey stands as a magnificent ruin, attracting visitors from around the world. Although most of the original structure is in ruins, parts of the church, cloister, and other buildings are still intact. Visitors can explore the remains of the abbey, including the ornate rose window, the grand arches, and the intricate stone carvings.

The abbey is managed by Historic Environment Scotland, and there is an on-site visitor center that provides information about the abbey’s history and architecture. Jedburgh Abbey is also part of the Borders Abbeys Way, a long-distance walking route that connects four historic abbeys in the region.

In addition to its historical significance, Jedburgh is known for its association with notable figures. Mary Queen of Scots, a prominent figure in Scottish history, visited Jedburgh Abbey in 1566, and her son, James VI, was baptized there.

Overall, Jedburgh Abbey is a captivating site that offers a glimpse into Scotland’s medieval past. Its architectural beauty, rich history, and scenic location make it a popular destination for history enthusiasts and visitors interested in exploring the Scottish Borders region.

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Scottish Architecture.(heritage)


Scotland is a diverse and unique place; for most people, it holds a mystic quality that encourages exploration and adventure. The ever-changing landscape of rugged mountains, crystal clear seas, ancient villages and vibrant cities is a melting pot of centuries worth of design and architecture. Informed by heritage, modernism and tradition, the country’s rich legacy of innovation and creativity has born an array of architects whose work has not only defined the built landscape of Scotland but whose style and significance can be seen across the world.

Home to almost 3,000 castles and land developed around croft houses, much of Scotland’s architecture stands as wondrous feats of historical significance, treasured, nurtured, renovated and restored to preserve and celebrate the rich history of the beautiful country. Despite having a population of just 5.4 million people, contemporary Scotland is packed to the brim with creative talent. Plus, architects and designers from every continent choose Scotland for their inspiration and their home. As you will see in the following collection, diversity is found in every corner of the country, bringing with it divergent, exceptional and exciting interpretations of the home.

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Scottish Architecture.(bastions)

After the Act of Union, growing prosperity in Scotland led to a spate of new building, both public and private. The threat of Jacobite insurrection or invasion meant that Scotland also saw more military building than England in this period, relying on the strength of inclined and angled engineered masonry work combined with the ability of earthen toppings that could deflect and absorb artillery fire. This culminated in the construction of Fort George, near Inverness (1748–69), with its projecting bastions and redoubts. Scotland produced some of the most significant architects of this era, including: Colen Campbell (1676–1729), James Gibbs (1682–1754), James (1732–94), John (1721–92) and Robert Adam (1728–92) and William Chambers (1723–96), who all created work that to some degree looked to classical models. Edinburgh‘s New Town was the focus of this classical building boom in Scotland. From the mid-eighteenth century it was laid out according to a plan of rectangular blocks with open squares, drawn up by James Craig and built in strong Craigleith sandstone which could be precisely cut by masons. Most residences were built as tenement flats, where, in contrast to contemporary building in England where buildings were divided vertically into different houses, they were divided horizontally, with different occupants sharing a common staircase. The smallest might have only one room, the largest several bedrooms and drawing rooms. This classicism, together with its reputation as a major centre of the Enlightenment, resulted in the city being nicknamed “The Athens of the North”. The gridiron plan, building forms and the architectural detailing would be copied by many smaller towns, although rendered in locally quarried materials. Despite this building boom, the centralisation of much of the government administration, including the king’s works, in London, meant that a number of Scottish architects spent most of all of their careers in England, where they had a major impact on Georgian architecture.

Rear view of a nineteenth-century Scottish tenement, Edinburgh

Colen Campbell was influenced by the Palladian style and has been credited with founding Georgian architecture. Architectural historian Howard Colvin has speculated that he was associated with James Smith and that Campbell may even have been his pupil. He spent most of his career in Italy and England and developed a rivalry with fellow Scot James Gibbs. Gibbs trained in Rome and also practised mainly in England. His architectural style did incorporate Palladian elements, as well as forms from Italian baroque and Inigo Jones, but was most strongly influenced by the interpretation of the Baroque by Sir Christopher Wren.

William Adam, was the foremost architect of his time in Scotland, designing and building numerous country houses and public buildings. Among his best known works are Hopetoun House near Edinburgh, and Duff House in Banff. His individual, exuberant, style was built on the Palladian style, but with Baroque details inspired by Vanbrugh and Continental architecture. After his death, his sons Robert and John took on the family business, which included lucrative work for the Board of Ordnance. Robert emerged as leader of the first phase of the neo-classical revival in England and Scotland from around 1760 until his death. He rejected the Palladian style as “ponderous” and “disgustful”. However, he continued their tradition of drawing inspiration directly from classical antiquity, influenced by his four-year stay in Europe. An interior designer as well as an architect, with his brothers developing the Adam style, he influenced the development of architecture, not just in Britain, but in Western Europe, North America and in Russia, where his patterns were taken by Scottish architect Charles Cameron. Adam’s main rival was William Chambers, another Scot, but born in Sweden. He did most of his work in London, with a small number of houses in Scotland. He was appointed architectural tutor to the Prince of Wales, later George III, and in 1766, with Robert Adam, as Architect to the King. More international in outlook than Adam, he combined Neoclassicism and Palladian conventions and his influence was mediated through his large number of pupils.

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Scottish Architecture.(kinross)

During the turbulent era of Civil Wars and the English occupation of Scotland, significant building in Scotland was largely confined to military architecture, with polygonal fortresses with triangular bastions at Ayr, Inverness and Leith in the style of the trace italienne.[57] After the Restoration in 1660, large scale building began again, often incorporating more comprehensive ideas of reviving classicism.[57] Sir William Bruce (1630–1710), considered “the effective founder of classical architecture in Scotland”, was the key figure in introducing the Palladian style into Scotland, following the principles of the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–80). Palladio’s ideas were strongly based on the symmetry, perspective and values of the formal classical temple architecture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, and associated in England with the designs of Inigo Jones. Bruce popularised a style of country house amongst the nobility that encouraging the move towards a more continental, leisure-oriented architecture.[58] He built and remodelled country houses, including Thirlestane Castle and Prestonfield House.[59] Among his most significant work was his own Palladian mansion at Kinross, built on the Loch Leven estate which he had purchased in 1675.[59] As the Surveyor and Overseer of the Royal Works he undertook the rebuilding of the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse in the 1670s, which gave the palace its present appearance.[58] After the death of Charles II, Bruce lost political favour, and later, following the Glorious Revolution, he was imprisoned more than once as a suspected Jacobite.[60] These houses were predominantly built using well-cut ashlar masonry on the façades, while rubble stonework was used only for internal walls.

Kinross House.

James Smith worked as a mason on the Bruce’s rebuilding of Holyrood Palace. In 1683 he was appointed to be Surveyor and Overseer of the Royal Works, and was responsible for maintenance of Holyrood Palace, and refurbished the former Holyrood Abbey as a chapel royal for King James VII. With his father-in-law, the master mason Robert Mylne, Smith worked on Caroline Park in Edinburgh (1685), and Drumlanrig Castle (1680s). Smith’s country houses followed the pattern established by William Bruce, with hipped roofs and pedimented fronts, in a plain but handsome Palladian style.[58] His Canongate Kirk (1688–90) is a basilica-plan, with a baroque facade. In 1691 Smith designed the mausoleum of Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, in Greyfriars Kirkyard, a circular structure modelled on the Tempietto di San Pietro, designed by Donato Bramante (1444–1514).[62] Hamilton Palace (1695) was fronted by giant Corinthian columns, and a pedimented entrance, although was otherwise restrained. Dalkeith Palace (1702–10) was modelled after William of Orange‘s palace at Het Loo in the Netherlands.[62]

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Scottish Architecture.(st columbas)

Burntisland Parish Church (also known as St Columba’s, Burntisland) is a church building in the Fife burgh of Burntisland, constructed for the Church of Scotland in 1592. It is historically important as one of the first churches built in Scotland after the Reformation, with a highly distinctive and apparently original square plan. It is Category A listed for its architectural and historical importance.

In 1601 the church was the location of a meeting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland which proposed to King James VI of Scotland that they work on a new Bible translation. When James became King James I of England he was able to devote resources to the production of what would ultimately become the King James Version.


The port of Burntisland had grown during the 16th century and was made a royal burgh in 1568; due to this growth and increased sense of civic pride, the townspeople decided to build a new church. This replaced an earlier building at Kirkton, a mile to the north of Burntisland.


St. Columbas Rc Church On Old Edinburgh Road Viewpark .uk 107063

The building is notable for its square design: the interior is 18m square with four arched piers reaching in diagonally from the corners to form a 6m square in the centre. Various models for it have been suggested, mainly in the Low Countries, but no candidate has been found to predate it, and it is therefore probably an original Scottish design.

It incorporates a gallery with a separate exit, for sailors to leave the service when the timing of the tide dictated that it was time to sail.

The tower was rebuilt by Samuel Neilson in 1748. Significant renovations were carried out by David Vertue in 1822; he enlarged the windows and removed many of the old pews.

The architect Malcolm Fraser described its distinctive design as “a radical representation of democracy and the freedom of man to communicate directly with God.” Henry Kerr suggests symbolism in its structure: the church is built high up on a rock, and its four walls lean in on the tower, which represents the “strength and safety” of the Church.

Interior decoration

It is decorated inside with carved wooden panels, many of which relate to the town’s maritime history, depicting ships, shipowners, and nautical trades. As well as sailors, there were also areas for the guilds of schoolmasters, tailors, hammermen, maltsters, and bakers. A painted panel in the west gallery from 1930 commemorates the 800th anniversary of the old church at Kirkton.

The 1606 Magistrate’s Pew (formerly known as the Burntisland Castle Pew) in the northeast corner was built for Robert Melville of Rossend. In 1907 Robert Rowand Anderson supervised renovation of this and other parts of the interior. The bell was cast by Isobel Meikle in 1708. The organ was paid for by Fife-born industrialist Andrew Carnegie. The church was extensively renovated in the 1990s.

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Scottish Architecture.(papa)

Papa Westray (/pæpə ˈwɛstriː/) (ScotsPapa Westree), also known as Papay, is one of the Orkney Islands in Scotland, United Kingdom. The fertile soil has long been a draw to the island.

Attractions on the island include Holland House with an associated folk museum and the Knap of Howar Neolithic farmstead run by Historic Scotland.

It is the ninth largest of the Orkney Islands with an area of 918 hectares (2,270 acres). The island’s population was 90 as recorded by the 2011 census, an increase of over 35% since 2001 when there were only 65 usual residents. During the same period, Scottish island populations as a whole grew by 4% to 103,702.


Orkney Ferries sail MV Golden Mariana from Papa Westray to Pierowall‘s Gill Pier. Twice a week – on Tuesday and Friday – the MV Earl Sigurd or MV Earl Thorfinn provides a direct service to and from Kirkwall on the Orkney Mainland, also serving either Rapness on Westray, or North Ronaldsay. There are also occasional summer Sunday excursions. Britten-Norman Islander aircraft operated by Loganair fly from Papa Westray Airport to Westray, North Ronaldsay, and Kirkwall; the hop from Papa Westray to Westray is the world’s shortest scheduled flight, at approximately 2 minutes.


At the northern tip of the island lies North Hill. At 49 metres (161 ft), it is the island’s highest point and an RSPB nature reserve. Many seabirds breed on the island, including Arctic terns and Arctic skuas. It was one of the last places where the great auk was found; the last individual was killed in 1813. The reserve is also home to the rare and tiny purple-flowered Scottish primrose Primula scotica.

The sea around most of the island is a Nature Conservation Marine Protection Area, in place to protect the feeding grounds of the island population of black guillemot. More than 500 breeding birds visit these seas each year, with many nesting on the offshore islet of the Holm of Papa.


The Knap of Howar Neolithic farmstead (Historic Scotland; accessible at all times) is the oldest preserved house in northern Europe, dating from around 3500 BC. The homestead, which consists of two roughly rectangular stone rooms side by side, linked by an internal door, and with doors to the outside at the west end, is partially subterranean, and virtually complete to roof height. Examples of the round-bottomed Unstan ware have been found here, and provided the key to dating the settlement.

St Boniface Kirk.

According to tradition, in the 8th century AD, the Pictish King Nechtan attempted to seduce a young woman from the island named Triduana, who in response gouged her own eyes out. She later became abbess of a nunnery at Restalrig, now part of Edinburgh, and was in due course canonised as St Tredwell. A chapel was consecrated to her on Papa Westray and became a place of pilgrimage for people with eye complaints.

The island is one of the ‘Papeys’ or ‘islands of the papar. Joseph Anderson noted that:

The two Papeys, the great and the little (anciently Papey Meiri and Papey Minni), [are] now Papa Westray and Papa Stronsay … Fordun in his enumeration of the islands, has a ‘Papeay tertia’ [third Papey], which is not now known. There are three islands in Shetland called Papey, and both in Orkney and in Shetland, there are several districts named Paplay or Papplay, doubtless the same as Papyli of Iceland.

Also on the island is the 12th-century parish church of St Boniface (recently restored; open in summer) with a carved Norse “hogback” gravestone (probably also 12th century) in the churchyard. This stands on a substantial and largely unexcavated 9th century, or earlier, Pictish religious site – possibly including a bishop’s residence. Remains of a heavily eroded broch can be seen on the shore. Early Christian carved stones, which may date from as early as the 7th century AD, found at this site are on display in Orkney Museum in the Tankerness House, Kirkwall and the National Museum of ScotlandEdinburgh. These may be the earliest evidence for Christianity to survive in the Northern Isles.

Another ancient monument that can be visited is a well-preserved Neolithic chambered cairn on the small island of Holm of Papa Westray, a little east of Papay itself (and readily visible from the larger island). The long, stalled cairn, built of local stone, was once a communal burial place for the bones of an ancient community. It is protected by a modern roof and entered by a man-hole from above. This can be seen at any time of day, but visitors must arrange privately for a boat through the local co-op.

Papa Westray is the birthplace of the Orcadian educator and man of letters, John D. Mackay.

St Tredwell’s Chapel

St Tredwell’s Chapel, Papa Westray

The remains of St Tredwell’s Chapel stand on a conical mound on a small peninsula (about 4.5 m (15 ft) high and 35 m (110 ft) across in St Tredwell’s Loch. The remains of the late medieval walls can be seen, built over Iron Age remains, including a tunnel leading to a circular building or broch. The thick walls of the chapel and records of tracery work indicate an important and well-founded establishment.

The chapel was surveyed by Sir H. Dryden in 1870 when its walls, of variable thickness, were still up to 6 feet high and the interior measured 20 ft 3in by 13 ft 10ins. The chapel was cleared of rubble by William Traill around 1880. He found 30 copper coins dating between the reigns of Charles II and George III under the chapel floor, along with a female skeleton.

In The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Papa Westray and Westray, R.G. Lamb (1983:19) notes:

Immediately outside the W wall Traill broke into a subterranean passage which he followed N then NW for some 10m, passing several sets of door-checks and a side-chamber and entering a ‘circular building’. Finds from this structure, including a stone ball, are in NMAS (…); others are in Tankerness House Museum (…). The opening into the passage is now blocked by rubble; it is likely that this was part of a complex of late Iron Age buildings, on the wreckage of which the chapel was built. It is possible that that a broch lies at the core of the mound, on the lower SE slope of which a revetment-wall, 1.9m high and traceable for 11m, may be part of an outer wall or ringwork. A few metres to the N of the chapel are the footings of two small subrectangular buildings of indeterminate date. A cross-slab is said to have been seen some years ago in the deep water besides the islet, but an attempted recovery was unsuccessful

Miraculous cures are associated with St Tredwell, particularly in those suffering from eye afflictions. Pilgrims travelled to Papay from all of Orkney and the north seeking a cure. Marwick, in a paper written in 1925, cites John Brand in his Brief Description of Orkney (1700) as having much to say of the chapel:

People used to come to it from other isles; before the chapel door was a heap of small stones, “into which the Superstituous People when they come, do cast a small stone or two for their offering, and some will cast in Money”; the loch is “held by the People as Medicinal”; “a Gentleman in the Countrey, who was much distressed with sore Eyes, went to this Loch and Washing there became sound and whole…with both which persons he who was Minister of the place for many years was well acquainted and told us that he saw them both before and after the Cure: The present minister of Westra told me that such as are able to walk use to go so many times about the Loch, as they think will perfect the cure before they make any use of the water, and that without speaking to any… not long since, he went to this Loch and found six so making their circuit…” “As for this Loch’s appearing like Blood, before any disaster befal the Royal Family, as some do report, we could find no ground to believe any such thing.

In the 19th century the Minister of Westray, John Armit, noted that:

Such was the veneration entertained by the inhabitants for this ancient saint, that it was with difficulty that the first Presbyterian minister of the parish could restrain them, of a Sunday morning, from paying their devotions at this ruin, previous to their attendance on public worship in the reformed church. Wonders, in the way of cure of bodily disease, are said to have been wrought by this saint, whose fame is now passed away and name almost forgotten.

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Scottish Architecture.(huntly)

9. Huntly House, Canongate.

Similar to John Knox House and Moubray House further up the Royal Mile, Huntly House features overhanging gables. It was built around 1570 and has still managed to maintain its historic character. It is thought to have been named in the 17th century after the Marquis of Huntly, who stayed here for a time. The house is sometimes referred to as the ‘speaking house’ on account of Latin inscriptions displayed on its facade. Several inscriptions have been added over the centuries. Huntly House is now home to the Museum of Edinburgh.

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Scottish Architecture.(moubray)

10. Moubray House 1500s, High Street.

Sharing the same nook of the High Street as John Knox House is an equally-ancient residence, Moubray House. It was built back in 1477 for a Mr Robert Moubray and was later used as a tavern and a bookshop. The esteemed writer Daniel Defoe resided here for a spell while he was editor of the Edinburgh Courant newspaper. The facade of Moubray House was rebuilt in the early 17th century, though parts of the interior are very much original.

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Scottish Architecture.(tolbooth)

4. Canongate Tolbooth, Canongate.

One of Edinburgh’s most photographed old buildings is the Canongate Tolbooth. It was built in 1591 at a time when the Canongate burgh was still separate from Edinburgh, and served as the district tolbooth, comprising a courthouse, jail and public meeting place. The Tolbooth has undergone a number of alterations over the centuries, the most notable being City Architect Robert Morham’s remodelling in 1875, which added its distinctive clock. The building now houses The People’s Story Museum and boasts a Category A listing.

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Scottish Architecture.(cowgate)

3. The Magdalen Chapel, Cowgate.

Just to the east of the Grassmarket at the start of the Cowgate stands the quaint Magdalen Chapel. The chapel was built between 1541 and 1544 at the bequest of one Michael MacQueen who was interred here shortly after its completion. Magdalen Chapel is notable as being the last Roman Catholic church to have been constructed in Edinburgh prior the Reformation and provides us with the only remaining example of pre-Reformation stained glass in Scotland. This is particularly astonishing when you consider that the chapel is considered the ‘cradle of Presbyterianism’, having held the first ever assembly of the new Church of Scotland in 1560. John Knox was one of the 42 ministers present. The chapel is now the headquarters of the Scottish Reformation Society.

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Scottish Architecture.(chapel)

8. St Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh Castle.

Thought to have been completed in 1130 by King David in honour of his mother, Queen Margaret, St Margaret’s Chapel has seen a fair few changes in Edinburgh. In fact, as the oldest building in the entire city, it’s seen all the changes. The chapel is situated within the walls of Edinburgh Castle, which may sound like a safe place to be until you consider that the castle has historically been the most besieged location in the whole of Britain. Once you factor in the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s and the fact that the chapel lay disused for centuries afterwards – save for a spell as a storage room for gunpowder – it’s actually quite incredible that it’s still standing. Today’s chapel has since been tastefully restored, first by Queen Victoria in the 1850s, who made it usable once more and reintroduced stained glass to its five windows, and again in 1922. Despite the rather compact little chapel only being able to hold around 20 people, modern weddings and baptisms are a regular occurrence at the 900-year-old place of worship.

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Scottish Architecture. (riddle)

7. Riddle’s Court, Royal Mile.

A hidden gem dating back to the 1590s, Riddle’s Court is a picturesque Category A-listed merchant’s tenement situated on the Royal Mile. Each room reveals a different chapter of its 500-year history – from a painted ceiling installed for a royal banquet to one created for students to dine under. For more information, visit

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Scottish Architecture. (croft)

6. Croft-An-Righ, Abbeyhill, Holyrood.

In Edinburgh, there is a small area adjacent to Holyrood Palace referred to on street signs as Croft-an-Righ. On the face of it, this would seem to simply be a slightly anglicised version of Gaelic Croit an Rìgh ‘˜the King’s croft’. This would seem appropriate given the royal location, indeed, it is referred to as such in a 19th-century Gaelic book. The name as it appears now however is misleading; in 1781 it is on record as Croft Angry. Several other places with such a name exist in Scotland, including two in Fife. These are Scots names containing croft with an element angry; this is of uncertain meaning as it seems only to have survived in place-names; it is related to German anger ‘(small) meadow’. Possibly it means a ‘fenced grazing in the croft or arable infield’ or perhaps more simply ‘grassland’.

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Scottish Architecture. (st giles)

Scottish Architecture.

Founded in the 12th century, St Giles’ Cathedral can be considered one of Edinburgh’s oldest buildings. In its early days, St Giles’ was just a small stone kirk, which stood roughly on the site of the present-day nave. This church was burned down by an attacking English army in the 14th century and subsequently rebuilt in spectacular fashion, owing the building its current look with distinct crown steeple. Although most of the church dates from later centuries, there are elements contained deep within which are considerably ancient. St Giles’ original 12th century doorway survived until just 200 years ago. Despite not having been a seat of bishops since 1638, St Giles’, similar to Glasgow Cathedral, has retained its title as a cathedral.

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Scottish Architecture. Saltire Court.

Saltire Courts’ sweeping colonnade and grand circular tower form a memorable city landmark that unites the Exchange district and the restaurant and retail destinations of Princes Street and George Street.

Geographically at the interchange of the city’s Old and New Towns, Saltire Court accesses the best of both worlds. The main Castle Terrace entrance looks directly over Edinburgh Castle and provides a link, through Princes Street Gardens, to the dining and shopping amenities of the New Town. An additional entrance leads directly through the Traverse Theatre into the business and amenity of Lothian Road.

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Scottish Architecture. Renaissance.

The influence of the Renaissance on Scottish architecture has been seen as occurring in two distinct phases. The selective use of Romanesque forms in church architecture in the early fifteenth century was followed towards the end of the century by a phase of more directly influenced Renaissance palace building. The re-adoption of low-massive church building with round arches and pillars, in contrast to the Gothic Perpendicular style that was particularly dominant in England in the late medieval era, may have been influenced by close contacts with Rome and the Netherlands, and may have been a conscious reaction to English forms in favour of continental ones. It can be seen in the nave of Dunkeld Cathedral, begun in 1406, the facade of St Mary’s, Haddington from the 1460s and in the chapel of Bishop Elphinstone’s Kings College, Aberdeen (1500–9). About forty collegiate churches were established in Scotland in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Many, like Trinity College, Edinburgh, showed a combination of Gothic and Renaissance styles.

The sculptural decoration of James V’s place at Stirling Castle

The extensive building and rebuilding of royal palaces probably began under James III, accelerated under James IV, reaching its peak under James V. These works have been seen as directly reflecting the influence of Renaissance styles. Linlithgow was first constructed under James I, under the direction of master of work John de Waltoun. From 1429, it was referred to as a palace, apparently the first use of this term in the country. This was extended under James III and began to correspond to a fashionable quadrangular, corner-towered Italian seignorial palace of a palatium ad moden castri (a castle-style palace), combining classical symmetry with neo-chivalric imagery. There is evidence of Italian masons working for James IV, in whose reign Linlithgow was completed and other palaces were rebuilt with Italianate proportions.

James V encountered the French version of Renaissance building while visiting for his marriage to Madeleine of Valois in 1536 and his second marriage to Mary of Guise may have resulted in longer-term connections and influences. Work from his reign largely disregarded the insular style of Tudor architecture prevalent in England under Henry VIII and adopted forms that were recognisably European, beginning with the extensive work at Linlithgow. This was followed by rebuildings at HolyroodFalklandStirling and Edinburgh, described as “some of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Britain”. Rather than slavishly copying continental forms, most Scottish architecture incorporated elements of these styles into traditional local patterns, adapting them to Scottish idioms and materials (particularly stone and harl). Work undertaken for James VI demonstrated continued Renaissance influences, with the Chapel Royal at Stirling having a classical entrance built in 1594 and the North Wing of Linlithgow, built in 1618, using classical pediments. Similar themes can be seen in the private houses of aristocrats, as in Mar’s Wark, Stirling (c. 1570) and Crichton Castle, built for the Earl of Bothwell in the 1580s.

Cawdor church, built in 1619 on a Greek cross plan.

New military architecture and the trace italienne style was brought by Italian architects and military engineers during the war of the Rough Wooing and the regency of Mary of Guise including Migliorino Ubaldini who worked at Edinburgh Castle, Camillo Marini who designed forts on the borders, and Lorenzo Pomarelli who worked for Mary of Guise. The unique style of great private houses in Scotland, later known as Scots baronial, has been located in origin to the period of the 1560s. It kept many of the features of the high walled Medieval castles that had been largely made obsolete by gunpowder weapons and may have been influenced by the French masons brought to Scotland to work on royal palaces. It drew on the tower houses and peel towers, which had been built in hundreds by local lords since the fourteenth century, particularly in the borders. These abandoned defensible curtain walls for a fortified refuge, designed to outlast a raid, rather than a sustained siege. They were usually of three stories, typically crowned with a parapet, projecting on corbels, continuing into circular bartizans at each corner. New houses retained many of these external features, but with a larger ground plan, classically a “Z-plan” of a rectangular block with towers, as at Colliston Castle (1583) and Claypotts Castle (1569–88).

Particularly influential was the work of William Wallace, the king’s master mason from 1617 until his death in 1631. He worked on the rebuilding of the collapsed North Range of Linlithgow from 1618, Winton House for George Seton, 3rd Earl of Winton and began work on Heriot’s Hospital, Edinburgh. He adopted a distinctive style that applied elements of Scottish fortification and Flemish influences to a Renaissance plan like that used at Château d’Ancy-le-Franc. This style can be seen in lords houses built at Caerlaverlock (1620), Moray House, Edinburgh (1628) and Drumlanrig Castle (1675–89), and was highly influential until the Scots baronial style gave way to the grander English forms associated with Inigo Jones in the later seventeenth century.

From about 1560, the Reformation revolutionised church architecture in Scotland. Calvinists rejected ornamentation in places of worship, with no need for elaborate buildings divided up by ritual, resulting in the widespread destruction of Medieval church furnishings, ornaments and decoration. There was a need to adapt and build new churches suitable for reformed services, with greater emphasis on preaching and the pulpit. Many of the earliest buildings were simple gabled rectangles, a style that continued to be built into the seventeenth century, as at Dunnottar Castle in the 1580s, Greenock (1591) and Durness (1619). The church of Greyfriars, Edinburgh, built between 1602 and 1620, used this layout with a largely Gothic form while that at Dirleton (1612) had a more sophisticated classical style. A variation of the rectangular church that developed in post-Reformation Scotland was the “T”-shaped plan, often used when adapting existing churches as it allowed the maximum number of parishioners to be near the pulpit. Examples can be seen at Kemback in Fife (1582) and Prestonpans after 1595. The “T” plan continued to be used into the seventeenth century as at Weem (1600), Anstruther Easter, Fife (1634–44) and New Cumnock (1657). In the seventeenth century a Greek cross plan was used for churches such as Cawdor (1619) and Fenwick (1643). In most of these cases one arm of the cross was closed off as a laird’s aisle, with the result that they were in effect “T”-plan churches.

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Scottish Architecture. F.R.B

Opened in 1890, the Forth Bridge is a Scottish icon that is recognised the world over as the most famous of cantilever designs. The world’s first major steel structure, the Forth Bridge represents a key milestone in the history of modern railway civil engineering and still holds the record as the world’s longest cantilever bridge.

A full-scale restoration project to return the bridge to its original construction condition was completed in 2012.

In July 2015, UNESCO inscribed the Forth Bridge as the sixth World Heritage site in Scotland.

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Scottish Architecture. R.M

Royal Mile.

Hi friends, One of the rather spectacular places in the City of Edinburgh is the Royal Mile, its named because it is one mile long and leads to Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, the Palace is Visited by Her Majesty the Queen once a Year. This street is beautiful with endless Architecture and stories galore, they say certain parts are haunted. If going from HOLYROOD PALACE the road takes you to Edinburgh Castle.If you have not visited, I highly recommend you do if your love beautiful buildings and History.

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is the heart of Scotland’s historic capital. A short walk away is the Grassmarket, an area steeped in the city’s colourful history.

Royal Mile, Edinburgh.

The Royal Mile runs through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, connecting the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, perched high on a base of volcanic rock, with the splendours Palace of Holyrood house, resting in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat. The Mile is overlooked by impressive, towering tenements, between which cobbled closes and narrow stairways interlock to create a secret underground world.

Peppered with superb attractions such as The Real Mary King’s Close or the Scottish Storytelling Center, historical sites including St Giles’ Cathedral and some of the best eating and drinking spots in the city, the Royal Mile offers much to see and do. For a glimpse of recent history, be sure to visit the ultra-modern Scottish Parliament, a striking building boasting a cutting-edge design.

Once a medieval market place and site for public executions, the Grass market area is now a vibrant area buzzing with lively drinking spots and eclectic shops. Its detailed medieval architecture, stunning castle views and dynamic atmosphere make it one of the city’s most-loved areas, frequented by tourists, students and professionals alike.

Though Grass market executions ceased in 1784, some of the traditional area’s pubs, such as The Last Drop and Maggie Dickson’s, keep alive the bloody tale of a chequered past. The White Hart Inn has played host to some famous patrons, including Robert Burns, and like many other pubs in the Grassmarket, offers live music and acoustic performances on most nights. You can learn more about the area by following the free Greater Grassmarket Historic Trail map and listening to the free commentary.

Fashion fans will uncover a wealth of gems at Armstrong’s Vintage Emporium, a haven of retro clothes and quirky accessories, while Fabhatrix offers beautiful hand-made hats and accessories, perfect for a Scottish summer shower or winter frost. Scottish and European restaurants are dotted around the square, many of them offering outdoor seating areas for al fresco dining in the summer months.

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Scottish Architecture. Calton Hill.

Calton Hill in Edinburgh is a famous landmark, set directly in the City Centre. Housed on this hill is an Athenian Acropolis, the unfinished project started in early 1800,s it is titled the “National Monument”
It was just after Napoleon’s defeat copied after the sculpture in Athens. This was to commemorate the dead from the Napoleonic wars.


As always with such a major project they ran out of money before it was completed, hence why it was nicknamed “Edinburgh’s” shame? Cannot understand why because even unfinished it is beautiful.

In my younger days, we used this place as an adventure playground, It is approximately five minutes away from where I used to live when I lived in Edinburgh.
We used to grab cardboard boxes, yes you heard right folks lol cardboard boxes, we used them to slide down Calton Hill, the grass was so shiny that it enabled you to slide down very fast this was cool.

From the top of Calton Hill, you get excellent views of the City, Arthurs Seat and Salisbury crags, as well as the Main City Centre Princess street. Also, housed on top of Calton Hill is a very old Observatory which is now called “Camera Obscura” for lovers of stargazing this is the place to visit.

There is also a Monument of Admiral Nelson who led the British troops to victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, in 1805, it was said that ships set their navigation with the special chronometer fitted on the monument. Mostly these days Calton Hill is a venue for the Edinburgh Festival Grand fireworks display which is a superb array of lights and bangs lol.

Thanks for visiting.

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Scottish Architecture. New Town.

Edinburgh Architecture | The scottish capital in streetscape panoramas

Edinburgh is best known for its built heritage which earned the city UNESCO world heritage status in 1995. This applies to the two most central areas of the city, the Old Town with Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile as well as the planned Georgian New Town north of it. The old town is the area running up castle hill from the Holyrood Palace at its foot to Edinburgh Castle on top. This complete route is now the famous Royal Mile (actually four consecutive streets), with numerous very small alleys, so called Closes, on either side of it. Being built solely on the stretching hill, the city soon became crowded and so some of the old stone buildings became very early high rises with up to ten and even more storeys.

The New Town was planned in the 18th century to find a solution for the over-crowded city. A 27 year old architect, James Craig, won the competition for the New Town and designed an ordered grid with three main streets running parallel to the Old Town, several crossroads and two main squares. The New Town is very consistent with its Georgian style buildings, only the southern main street, Princes Street, has changed its look radically, becoming Edinburgh’s main shopping street with several newer buildings.

During our visit to the scottish capital we documented numerous streets within the Old Town and New Town as well as some streetscapes from the West End and Leith areas. Here you’ll find the completed and published streetlines:

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Scottish Architecture. Vernacular.

Scottish Vernacular Architecture refers to the smaller, traditional buildings which were built to accommodate the local needs and circumstances of their inhabitants. Their form was dictated not only by the availability of building materials but also by the traditional construction techniques that developed in response to the topography of the area, the climate, and cultural and economic factors. First and foremost, these buildings were functional—shaped for purpose. They grew out of the environment, rather than adapting the environment to provide the status and show of later “polite” architecture created by the fledgling profession of architects.

The single-storey cottage that comes to mind when you think of the wide-open, rural spaces of Scotland might be considered as the starting point from which other vernacular buildings developed. On Orkney, excavations at Knap of Howar have exposed two buildings dating as far back as 3,500-3,100 BC which demonstrate the specialised  building techniques adopted for houses built in cold and exposed settings. Their walls are several feet thick and consist of two skins of stone separated by an inner core. At Orkney this cavity is packed with midden (garbage) to insulate and consolidate them, but in the Black Houses, common in the Highlands and Hebrides, dry earth or sand mixed with stone serves the same purpose. This double core construction also aided waterproofing, as water was able to penetrate the first wall but not the second. 

Castle Combe Cotswolds E1627569291417

Openings were limited in exposed climates, and windows, where they did exist, were small and deeply recessed in the thick walls. Roofs tended to be steep in areas with high snow or rainfall to encourage water to drain off but were low pitched in windy areas to prevent them being blown off, weighted down by ropes or old fishing nets in coastal areas. In windy settings, houses were often built into the slopes of hillsides and corners were rounded, as in the Knap of Howar buildings and the Brochs of the Iron Age, offering further protection from the wind.

Another characteristic of Scottish vernacular architecture, still in use today, is a thick coat of harl on the exterior walls to provide protection against frost penetration.  Usually this consisted of a mixture of lime, grit, and water; but in coastal areas, sea sand and seashells were incorporated, giving it a white colour. In Cramond, outside Edinburgh, the sand was mixed with oil from the seashore giving a black harl, while in Portsoy on the north-east coast, the local sandstone was powdered and added to the harl turning it a red colour. In later centuries pigments were added to form distinctive colours, the most famous being the Royal Gold on display at Culross Palace and the Great Hall of Stirling Castle.

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Scottish Architecture. New Lanark.

New Lanark is a village on the River Clyde, approximately 1.4 miles (2.2 kilometres) from Lanark, in Lanarkshire, and some 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Glasgow, Scotland. It was founded in 1786 by David Dale, who built cotton mills and housing for the mill workers. Dale built the mills there in a brief partnership with the English inventor and entrepreneur Richard Arkwright to take advantage of the water power provided by the only waterfalls on the River Clyde. Under the ownership of a partnership that included Dale’s son-in-law, Robert Owen, a Welsh philanthropist and social reformer, New Lanark became a successful business and an early example of a planned settlement and so an important milestone in the historical development of urban planning.

The New Lanark mills operated until 1968. After a period of decline, the New Lanark Conservation Trust (NLCT) was founded in 1974 (now known as the New Lanark Trust (NLT)) to prevent demolition of the village. By 2006 most of the buildings have been restored and the village has become a major tourist attraction. It is one of six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Scotland and an Anchor Point of ERIH – the European Route of Industrial Heritage.

The New Lanark mills depended upon water power. A dam was constructed on the Clyde above New Lanark and water was drawn off the river to power the mill machinery. The water first travelled through a tunnel, then through an open channel called the lade. It then went to a number of water wheels in each mill building. It was not until 1929 that the last waterwheel was replaced by a water turbine. Water power is still used in New Lanark. A new water turbine has been installed in Mill Number Three to provide electricity for the tourist areas of the village.

In Owen’s time some 2,500 people lived at New Lanark, many from the poorhouses of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Although not the grimmest of mills by far, Owen found the conditions unsatisfactory and resolved to improve the workers’ lot. He paid particular attention to the needs of the 500 or so children living in the village (one of the tenement blocks is named Nursery Buildings) and working at the mills, and opened the first infants’ school in Britain in 1817, although the previous year he had completed the Institute for the Formation of Character.

The mills thrived commercially, but Owen’s partners were unhappy at the extra expense incurred by his welfare programmes. Unwilling to allow the mills to revert to the old ways of operating, Owen bought out his partners. In 1813 the Board forced an auction, hoping to obtain the town and mills at a low price but Owen and a new board (including the economist Jeremy Bentham) that was sympathetic to his reforming ideas won out.

New Lanark became celebrated throughout Europe, with many statesmen, reformers and royalty visiting the mills. They were astonished to find a clean, healthy industrial environment with a content, vibrant workforce and a prosperous, viable business venture all rolled into one. Owen’s philosophy was contrary to contemporary thinking, but he was able to demonstrate that it was not necessary for an industrial enterprise to treat its workers badly to be profitable. Owen was able to show visitors the village’s excellent housing and amenities, and the accounts showing the profitability of the mills.

As well as the mills’ connections with reform, socialism and welfare, they are also representative of the Industrial Revolution that occurred in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries and which fundamentally altered the shape of the world. The planning of employment in the mills alongside housing for the workers and services such as a school also makes the settlement iconic in the development of urban planning in the UK.

In 1825, control of New Lanark passed to the Walker family when Owen left Britain to start settlement of New Harmony in the US. The Walkers managed the village until 1881, when it was sold to Birkmyre and Sommerville and the Gourock Ropeworks (although they tried unsuccessfully to sell the mills and the town in 1851). They and their successor companies remained in control until the mills closed in 1968.

The town and the industrial activity had been in decline before then, but after the mills closed migration away from the village accelerated, and the buildings began to deteriorate. The top two floors of Mill Number 1 were removed in 1945 but the building has since been restored and is now the New Lanark Mill Hotel. In 1963 the New Lanark Association (NLA) was formed as a housing association and commenced the restoration of Caithness Row and Nursery Buildings. In 1970 the mills, other industrial buildings and the houses used by Dale and Owen were sold to Metal Extractions Limited, a scrap metal company. In 1974 the NLCT (now the NLT) was founded to prevent demolition of the village. A compulsory purchase order was used in 1983 to recover the mills and other buildings from Metal Extractions after a repairs notice had been served in 1979. This was because of the state of repair of the buildings despite their listing as historic buildings that required their legal preservation in 1971. They are now controlled by the NLT, either directly through the Trust or through wholly owned companies (New Lanark Trading Ltd, New Lanark Hotel Ltd and New Lanark Homes). By 2005 most of the buildings had been restored and the village has become a major tourist attraction.

Living conditions.

In the mid 19th century, an entire family would have been housed in a single room. Some sense of such living conditions can be obtained by visiting the reconstructed Millworkers House at New Lanark World Heritage Site or the David Livingstone Centre at Blantyre.

David Dale, who founded New Lanark, was also involved in the mills at Blantyre. Only one tenement row has survived in Blantyre, and that building is now a museum. This is mostly devoted to David Livingstone, who was born there in 1813, both examples include re-creations of the single-room living conditions of the time at New Lanark, featuring trundle beds for children such as Livingstone would have used. The David Livingstone Centre is 18 miles by road from New Lanark, between Glasgow and Hamilton.

The living conditions in the village gradually improved, and by the early 20th century families would have had the use of several rooms. It was not until 1933 that the houses had interior cold water taps for sinks and the communal outside toilets were replaced by inside facilities.

From 1938 the village proprietors provided free electricity to all the homes in New Lanark, but only enough power was available for one dim bulb in each room. The power was switched off at 10 pm Sunday-Friday, 11 pm Saturday. In 1955 New Lanark was connected to the National Grid.

Dereliction in New Lanark in 1983.

New Lanark today

It has been estimated that over 400,000 people visit the village each year. The importance of New Lanark has been recognised by UNESCO as one of Scotland’s six World Heritage Sites, the others being Edinburgh Old and New Towns, Heart of Neolithic Orkney, St Kilda, the Antonine Wall and the Forth Bridge. The mills and town were listed in 2001 after an unsuccessful application for World Heritage listing in 1986.

About 130 people live in New Lanark. Of the residential buildings, only Mantilla Row has not been restored. Some of the restoration work was undertaken by the NLA and the NLCT. Braxfield Row and most of Long Row were restored by private individuals who bought the houses as derelict shells and restored them as private houses. Seven houses in Double Row have been externally restored by the NLCT and are being sold for private ownership. In addition to the 21 owner-occupied properties in the village there are 45 rented properties which were let by the NLA, which was a registered housing association. The NLA also owned other buildings in the village. In 2009 the NLA was wound up as being financially and administratively unviable, and responsibility for the village’s tenanted properties passed to the NLCT.

In 2009 Clydesdale Bank released a new series of Scottish banknotes, of which the 20-pound note features New Lanark on its reverse.

Considerable attention has been given to maintaining the historical authenticity of the village. No television aerials or satellite dishes are allowed in the village, and services such as telephone, television and electricity are delivered though buried cables. To provide a consistent appearance all external woodwork is painted white, and doors and windows follow a consistent design. Householders used to be banned from owning dogs, but this rule is no longer enforced.

Some features introduced by the NLT, such as commercial signage and a glass bridge connecting the Engine House and Mill Number Three, have been criticised. The retention of a 1924-pattern red telephone box in the village square has also been seen as inappropriate.

The mills, the hotel and most of the non-residential buildings in the village are owned and operated by the NLT through wholly owned companies.

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Scottish Architecture. The Lighthouse.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a young draughtsman in the architectural practise of Honeyman and Keppie when he designed the Mitchell Street building, which now houses The Lighthouse. The Herald Building was Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s first public commission.

The building, designed in 1895, was a warehouse at the back of the printing office of the Glasgow Herald. Mackintosh designed the tower – a prominent feature of the building – to contain an 8,000-gallon water tank. It was to protect the building and all its contents from the risk of fire.

The former Glasgow Herald building was renovated and launched as The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Design and the City, a project suggested by the 1999 UK City of Architecture and Design bid committee. It took its new role after 15 years of silence, having stood unused since the Herald moved to new offices in the early eighties.

Glasgow firm Page & Park Architects were the principal consultancy responsible for the conversion and extension of the former Glasgow Herald building in Mitchell Street to accommodate a new centre for architecture and design.

The Lighthouse remains a successful visitor attraction and venue attracting people from all over the world. In 2012, The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture continues to re-emerge as a Design Centre and hub for the creative industries in Scotland.

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Scottish Architecture. Glasgow Cathedral.

Glasgow Cathedral, also called the High Kirk of Glasgow or St Kentigern’s or St Mungo’s Cathedral, is the oldest cathedral on mainland Scotland and is the oldest building in Glasgow. Since the Reformation the cathedral continues in public ownership, within the responsibility of Historic Environment Scotland. The congregation is part of the Church of Scotland’s Presbytery of Glasgow and its services and associations are open to all.The cathedral and its kirkyard are at the top of High Street, at Cathedral Street. Immediately neighbouring it are Glasgow Royal Infirmary, opened in 1794, and the elevated Glasgow Necropolis, opened in 1833. Nearby are the Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow’s oldest house and its herbal medical gardens, the Barony Hall (Barony Church), University of Strathclyde, Cathedral Square, Glasgow Evangelical Church (North Barony Church), and St Mungo Museum.



The history of the cathedral is linked with that of the city and is allegedly located where the patron saint of Glasgow, Saint Mungo, built his church. The tomb of the saint is in the lower crypt. Walter Scott’s novel Rob Roy gives an account of the kirk.

Built before the Reformation from the late 12th century onwards and serving as the seat of the Bishop and later the Archbishop of Glasgow, the building is a superb example of Scottish Gothic architecture.It is also one of the few Scottish medieval churches (and the only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland) to have survived the Reformation not unroofed.

James IV ratified the treaty of Perpetual Peace with England at the high altar on 10 December 1502. The cathedral and the nearby castle played a part in the battles of Glasgow in 1544 and 1560.Twenty years after the Reformation, on 22 April 1581 James VI granted the income from a number of lands to Glasgow town for the kirk’s upkeep. He traced the ownership of these lands to money left by Archbishop Gavin Dunbar as a legacy for repairing the cathedral. The town council agreed on 27 February 1583 to take responsibility for repairing the kirk, while recording they had no obligation to do so. The church survives because of this resolution. Inside, the rood screen is also a very rare survivor in Scottish churches.

The cathedral has been host to number of congregations and continues as a place of active Christian worship, hosting a Church of Scotland congregation. The current minister (since April 2019) is the Rev Mark E. Johnstone DL MA BD, who was previously minister at St. Mary’s Church, Kirkintilloch. The building itself is in the ownership of The Crown, is maintained by Historic Scotland, and is a popular destination for tourists.

University of Glasgow

Main article: University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow originated in classes held within the precinct of the Cathedral. William Turnbull, Bishop of Glasgow was primarily responsible for the foundation of the University around the year 1451. In 1460, the University moved out of the Cathedral to an adjacent site on the east side of the High Street, known locally as The College, and moved to its current home on Gilmorehill in 1870.

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Scottish Architecture . (Fingals cave.)

Fingal’s Cave is a sea cave on the uninhabited island of Staffa, in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, known for its natural acoustics. The National Trust for Scotland owns the cave as part of a national nature reserve. It became known as Fingal’s Cave after the eponymous hero of an epic poem by 18th-century Scots poet-historian James Macpherson.

View from the depths of the cave with the island of Iona visible in the background, 2008.

St Orans Chapel Iona Interior

Basalt columns inside Fingal’s Cave.


Fingal’s Cave is formed entirely from hexagonally jointed basalt columns within a Paleocene lava flow, similar in structure to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland and those of nearby Ulva.

In all these cases, cooling on the upper and lower surfaces of the solidified lava resulted in contraction and fracturing, starting in a blocky tetragonal pattern and transitioning to a regular hexagonal fracture pattern with fractures perpendicular to the cooling surfaces. As cooling continued these cracks gradually extended toward the centre of the flow, forming the long hexagonal columns we see in the wave-eroded cross-section today. Similar hexagonal fracture patterns are found in desiccation cracks in mud where contraction is due to loss of water instead of cooling.


Part of the Ulva estate of the Clan MacQuarrie from an early date until 1777, the cave was brought to the attention of the English-speaking world by 18th-century naturalist Sir Joseph Banks in 1772.

It became known as Fingal’s Cave after the eponymous hero of an epic poem by 18th century Scots poet-historian James Macpherson. It formed part of his Ossian cycle of poems claimed to have been based on old Scottish Gaelic poems. In Irish mythology, the hero Fingal is known as Fionn mac Cumhaill, and it is suggested that Macpherson rendered the name as Fingal (meaning “white stranger”) through a misapprehension of the name which in old Gaelic would appear as Finn. The legend of the Giant’s Causeway has Fionn or Finn building the causeway between Ireland and Scotland.


The cave has a large arched entrance and is filled by the sea. Several sightseeing cruises organised from April to September by local companies pass the entrance to the cave. In calm conditions, one can land at the island’s landing place (as some of these cruises permit) and walk the short distance to the cave, where a row of fractured columns forms a walkway just above high-water level permitting exploration on foot. From the inside, the entrance seems to frame the island of Iona across the water.

In art and literature

Engraving of Fingal’s Cave by James Fittler in Scotia Depicta, 1804..

Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn visited in 1829 and wrote an overture, The Hebrides, Op. 26, (also known as Fingal’s Cave overture), inspired by the weird echoes in the cave. Mendelssohn’s overture popularized the cave as a tourist destination. Other famous 19th-century visitors included author Jules Verne, who used it in his book Le Rayon Vert (The Green Ray), and mentions it in the novels Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Mysterious Island; poets William Wordsworth, John Keats, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson; and Romantic artist J. M. W. Turner, who painted Staffa, Fingal’s Cave in 1832. Queen Victoria also made the trip.

The 19th century Austro-Hungarian guitarist and composer Johann Kaspar Mertz included a piece entitled Fingals-Höhle in his set of character pieces for guitar Bardenklänge.

The playwright August Strindberg also set scenes from his play A Dream Play in a place called “Fingal’s Grotta”. Scots novelist Sir Walter Scott described Fingal’s Cave as “one of the most extraordinary places I ever beheld. It exceeded, in my mind, every description I had heard of it… composed entirely of basaltic pillars as high as the roof of a cathedral, and running deep into the rock, eternally swept by a deep and swelling sea, and paved, as it were, with ruddy marble, [it] baffles all description.”

Artist Matthew Barney used the cave along with the Giant’s Causeway for the opening and closing scenes of his art film, Cremaster 3. In 2008, the video artist Richard Ashrowan spent several days recording the interior of Fingal’s Cave for an exhibition at the Foksal Gallery in Poland.

One of Pink Floyd’s early songs bears this location’s name. This instrumental was written for the film Zabriskie Point, but not used.

Lloyd House at Caltech has a mural representing Fingal’s Cave.

The Alistair MacLean novel-based movie, When Eight Bells Toll, starring Anthony Hopkins, was filmed there.

It is possible that the township of Fingal, Tasmania was named after the cave in MacPherson’s honour.

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Scottish Architecture. Linlithgow Palace.

Once a majestic royal residence of the Stewarts, Linlithgow Palace today lies roofless and ruined. Yet entering the palace gates still inspires awe in visitors.

James I ordered work on a palace to begin in 1424, following a fire that severely damaged the earlier residence. The elegant, new ‘pleasure palace’ became a welcome rest stop for royals on the busy road between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling castle

The Stewart queens especially liked the peace and fresh air, and Linlithgow Palace served as the royal nursery for:

  • James V – born 1512
  • Mary Queen of Scots – born 1542
  • Princess Elizabeth – born 1596

But the palace fell quickly into decline when James VI moved the royal court to London in 1603, following his coronation as James I of England.

The palace’s north quarter, which probably housed the queen’s apartment where Mary was born, fell to the ground in 1607. It was rebuilt around 1620, on the orders of James VI. The end came in 1746, when a great fire swept through the palace.

An ancient site

Linlithgow Palace stands on a low hill above a small inland loch. The name Linlithgow means ‘the loch in the damp hollow’.

The site was first occupied as far back as Roman times 2,000 years ago. There has been a royal residence here since at least the reign of David I (1124–53). He also founded the town that grew up around the royal residence.

Peace in Linlithgow was shattered in 1296, when Edward I of England invaded Scotland. The ‘Hammer of the Scots’ had a formidable defence built around the royal residence in 1302. He called it his ‘pele’ (from the Old French ‘pel’, meaning ‘stake’).

No visible features of the original Linlithgow Peel survive. The name is now used for the attractive parkland that surrounds the remains of the later Stewart palace.

A longstanding Stewart project.

James I had begun work on the new palace shortly after his return from captivity in England. Over the course of the next century and more, his heirs completed the great task.

Palace highlights include the:

  • Great Hall built for James I
  • royal apartments added by James IV (1488–1513)
  • three-tiered courtyard fountain added by James V in 1538
  • north quarter rebuilt for James VI (1567–1625)

The end result was a hugely impressive quadrangular palace, its four ranges grouped around a central courtyard.

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Scottish Architecture. Red Road Flats. Glasgow.

From slum clearance to high-rise demolition: why Glasgow’s Red Road flats could never live up to expectations.

Intended to be the solution to Glasgow‘s 20th-century slum crisis, the Red Road flats instead came to represent the failings of modern high-rise housing.

Red Road Flats Glasgow

While some former residents have fond memories of the community that grew up around Red Road, others remember the poor living conditions and rapid decline of the development.

An iconic part of the Glasgow skyline for many years, the troubled Red Road flats were finally condemned in 2008.

Slum clearance

By the mid-20th century, much of central Glasgow had become overcrowded, and traditional tenements had turned into unsanitary and unsafe slums.

As part of the post-war Bruce Report (drawn up by the Glasgow Corporation in 1946), certain inner-city districts were named as Comprehensive Development Areas.

The Gorbals slum

Essentially, this meant that the council believed areas like the Gorbals, Townhead and Anderston were beyond saving – residents would be moved elsewhere and the slums would be flattened.

Areas on the outskirts of the city were earmarked for new developments, which would provide modern, safe and spacious living conditions for those leaving the urban slums.

A new beginning

The Red Road flats are arguably the most famous of these new developments.

Construction on the green belt area at Barlornock started in 1964, and the first residents had moved in by 1966.

At the time they were built, the eight Red Road tower blocks were the tallest residential high-rises in Europe, at 28 and 31 storeys.

red road flats glasgow

The flats cost an estimated £6 million to build and were intended to house 4,700 people to ease overcrowding in the inner-city.

On top of brand new housing, improved living conditions, and high levels of community spirit, residents could also enjoy spectacular views of Glasgow and the surrounding countryside, even being able to see as far as the Isle of Arran on a clear day.

Plagued with problems

Despite the promising start, the Red Road flats soon came under criticism.

Built with a steel frame (rather than pre-fabricated concrete panels like other tower blocks in the city), the flats had to be fire-proofed with asbestos.

The architects responsible for the project argued that using asbestos was the safest way to ensure the flats were fire-proof, but by the 1980s it was widely known that asbestos could cause severe illness and even death.

red road flats glasgow

Some asbestos was removed in the early 1980s, but the majority of it remained until the Red Road flats were eventually demolished.

The tower blocks soon began to deteriorate. Lifts frequently broke down, leaks were common, and the flats even swayed in high winds.

Crime, drugs, and social issues.

It wasn’t just structural problems that affected the Red Road flats.

They quickly gained a reputation for anti-social behavior and crime, ranging from youth gangs causing mischief to burglaries, assaults, and drug dealing.

One of the most infamous incidents happened in 1977 when vandals started a fire in an empty flat.

The blaze caused serious structural damage and also resulted in the death of a 12-year-old boy.

After residents were evacuated, many refused to return to their homes because of safety issues.

red road flats glasgow

Shortly after, in 1980, authorities declared two of the blocks as unfit for family accommodation and were instead let to students and the YMCA.

Around this time, measures were also introduced to reduce crime in the Red Road flats.

Access to communal spaces was made more secure with the installation of intercoms and electronic keys, and 24-hour concierge facilities were also added.

Crime did drop significantly following these measures, but Red Road’s reputation would never recover.

It was seen (especially by outsiders) as a grim and desolate place. As some of Glasgow’s tallest buildings, the complex also became a hotspot for suicides.

The end of the Red Road.

By the beginning of the 21st century, repairs were costing more than rent, and by 2008 the decision had been made to demolish the Red Road flats.

Phased demolition was planned to begin in 2010, despite the fact that asylum seekers were still living in the flats.

The first block was demolished in June 2012 and took just six seconds to fall after a series of controlled explosions. The second one followed in May 2013.

A controversial plan was then announced which would see five of the remaining blocks demolished as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

red road flats glasgow

Those who opposed the plan said it would be insensitive to demolish the flats as a form of entertainment. They felt the demolition should instead be done with dignity, as a mark of respect to the people who had called Red Road home.

There were also safety concerns, as the sixth block (not yet planned for demolition) was still inhabited by a large number of asylum seekers.

The Commonwealth Games ‘spectacle’ was called off, but the flats were demolished anyway during the following year.

Since the demolition, Glasgow Life and Glasgow Housing Association have partnered up to create the Red Road: Past, Present, and Future project, which collects stories, photos, and recollections from those who lived in the flats.

Just like the slums, they were built to replace, the Red Road flats have now disappeared from Glasgow’s landscape.

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Scottish Architecture. Mount Stuart.

Mount Stuart is a 19th century country manor house with extensive gardens on the Isle of Bute.

The spectacular Gothic house was the ancestral home of the Marquess of Bute. Mount Stuart is an award-winning attraction featuring magnificent Victorian Gothic architecture and design together with contemporary craftsmanship, surrounded by 300 acres of gloriously maintained grounds and gardens.

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Mount Stuart is accessible just 70 minutes from Glasgow Airport and 20 minutes from Argyll mainland.

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Scottish Architecture. (Bridge)


Best viewpoint: From the river bank adjacent to the bridge, or from the modern bridge over the A941 to the east.
How to get there: The bridge is located north of Aberlour, just off the A941 and the A95 and can be reached by public transport.

History: The Craigellachie Bridge opened in 1815 and is the oldest surviving cast iron bridge in Scotland. Designed by Thomas Telford, one of the most famous engineers of his time,  it has mock-medieval towers that flank the bridge on either side which give it a regal air.

Wee fact: It is one of only a few engineering projects in Scotland that has been recognised as a landmark of importance by both the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Civil Engineers.

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Scottish Architecture… Leith Tower.

Infamous Leith tower block pair in-line for listing

November 11 2016

A pair of Leith tower blocks immortalised in Trainspotting could become Edinburgh’s newest listed buildings following the launch of a consultation exercise by Historic Environment Scotland.

Best known as the home of ‘Sick Boy’ from Trainspotting Cables Wynd House, colloquially known as the banana flats owing to its curvaceous profile, the building could soon become recognised for its architectural qualities should it be listed alongside the neighbouring Linksview House.

Residents of both blocks, predominantly owned by City of Edinburgh Council, are being asked their views as part of the listing process.

Historic Environment Scotland’s deputy head of listing, Dawn McDowell said: “Cables Wynd House and Linksview House were innovative, ground-breaking designs at the time when they were built and offered a new vision for social housing and for those who lived in them.

“A key aim of listing is to recognise the special architectural importance of these buildings as well as celebrating and sharing their wider social and cultural role.”

An informal drop-in session will be held on 6 December at Leith Library, Ferry Road, between 16:00 and 19:00.

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Scottish Architecture. Culzean Castle.

Culzean Castle (/kʌˈleɪn/ kul-AYN, see yogh; Scots: Cullain) is a castle overlooking the Firth of Clyde, near Maybole, Carrick, on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland. It is the former home of the Marquess of Ailsa, the chief of Clan Kennedy, but is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The clifftop castle lies within the Culzean Castle Country Park and is opened to the public. From 1972 through 2015, an illustration of the castle was featured on the reverse side of five pound notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

As of 2021, the castle was available for rent


Culzean Castle was constructed as an L-plan castle by order of the 10th Earl of Cassilis. He instructed the architect Robert Adam to rebuild a previous, but more basic, structure into a fine country house to be the seat of his earldom. The castle was built in stages between 1777 and 1792. It incorporates a large drum tower with a circular saloon inside (which overlooks the sea), a grand oval staircase and a suite of well-appointed apartments.

The castle was the venue, on 14 November 1817, when Archibald Kennedy, 1st Marquess of Ailsa’s daughter, Margaret Radclyffe Livingstone Eyre, married Thomas, Viscount Kynnaird. Margaret would become a noted philanthropist.

In 1945, the Kennedy family gave the castle and its grounds to the National Trust for Scotland (thus avoiding inheritance tax). In doing so, they stipulated that the apartment at the top of the castle be given to General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower in recognition of his role as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during the Second World War. The General first visited Culzean Castle in 1946 and stayed there four times, including once while President of the United States.

The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick’s Own) Yeomanry, a British Yeomanry cavalry regiment, was formed by The Earl of Cassillis at Culzean Castle in about 1794. On 24 June 1961, the regiment returned to the castle to be presented with its first guidon by General Sir Horatius Murray, KBE, CB, DSO.

The castle re-opened in April 2011 after a refurbishment funded by a gift in the will of American millionaire William Lindsay to the National Trust for Scotland. Lindsay, who had never visited Scotland, requested that a significant portion of his $4 million go towards Culzean. Lindsay was reportedly interested in Eisenhower’s holidays at the castle.

Culzean Castle received 333,965 visitors in 2019.


Panoramic view of Culzean Castle main building

The armoury contains a propellor from a plane flown by Leefe Robinson when he shot down a German airship north of London in 1916.

To the north of the castle is a bay containing the Gas House, which provided town gas for the castle up until 1940. This group of buildings consists of the gas manager’s house (now containing an exhibition on William Murdoch), the Retort House and the remains of the gasometer.

There are sea caves beneath the castle which are currently not open generally, but are open for tours throughout the summer.

The castle grounds include a walled garden, which is built on the site of the home of a former slave owned by the Kennedy family, Scipio Kennedy.


The Castle is reputed to be home to at least seven ghosts, including a piper and a servant girl.

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Scottish Architecture George Heriots School.

George Heriot’s School is a Scottish independent primary and secondary school on Lauriston Place in the Old Town of Edinburgh, Scotland. In the early 21st century, it has more than 1600 pupils, 155 teaching staff, and 80 non-teaching staff It was established in 1628 as George Heriot’s Hospital, by bequest of the royal goldsmith George Heriot and opened in 1659. It is governed by George Heriot’s Trust, a Scottish charity

George Heriot’s School

The main building of the school is notable for its renaissance architecture, the work of William Wallace, until his death in 1631 He was succeeded as master mason by William Aytoun, who was succeeded in turn by John Mylne[7] In 1676, Sir William Bruce drew up plans for the completion of Heriot’s Hospital. His design, for the central tower of the north façade, was eventually executed in 1693

The school is a turreted building surrounding a large quadrangle, and built out of sandstone The foundation stone is inscribed with the date 1628. The intricate decoration above each window is unique (with one paired exception – those on the ground floor either side of the now redundant central turret on the west side of the building). A statue of the founder can be found in a niche on the north side of the quadrangle.

The main building was the first large building to be constructed outside the Edinburgh city walls. It is located next to Greyfriars Kirk, built in 1620, in open grounds overlooked by Edinburgh Castle directly to the north. Parts of the seventeenth-century city wall (the Telfer Wall) serve as the walls of the school grounds. When built, the building’s front facade faced the entrance on the Grassmarket. It was originally the only facade fronted in fine ashlar stone, the others being harled rubble. “George Heriot’s magnificent pile” became known locally, and by the boys who attended it, as the “Wark”

In 1833 the three rubble facades were refaced in Craigleith ashlar stone. This was done because the other facades had become more visible when a new entrance was installed on Lauriston Place. The refacing work was handled by Alexander Black, then Superintendent of Works for the school. He later designed the first Heriot’s free schools around the city.

The north gatehouse onto Lauriston Place is by William Henry Playfair and dates from 1829. The chapel interior (1837) is by James Gillespie Graham, who is likely to have been assisted by Augustus Pugin. The school hall was designed by Donald Gow in 1893 and boasts a hammerbeam roof. A mezzanine floor was added later. The science block is by John Chesser (architect) and dates from 1887, incorporating part of the former primary school of 1838 by Alexander Black (architect). The chemistry block to the west of the site was designed by John Anderson in 1911

The grounds contain a selection of other buildings of varying age; these include a wing by inter-war school specialists Reid & Forbes, and a swimming pool, now unused. A 1922 granite war memorial, by James Dunn, is dedicated to the school’s former pupils and teachers who died in World War I. Alumni and teachers who died in World War II were also added to the memorial.


17th and 18th centuries

On his death in 1624, George Heriot left just over 23,625 pounds sterling – equivalent to about £3 million in 2017 – to found a “hospital” (a charitable school) on the model of Christ’s Hospital in London, to care for the “puire, fatherless bairnes” (Scots: poor, fatherless children) and children of “decayit” (fallen on hard times) burgesses and freemen of Edinburgh[12

The construction of Heriot’s Hospital (as it was first called) was begun in 1628, just outside the city walls of Edinburgh. It was completed in time to be occupied by Oliver Cromwell’s English forces during the invasion of Scotland during the Third English Civil War. When the building was used as a barracks, Cromwell’s forces stabled their horses in the chapel. The hospital opened in 1659, with thirty sickly children in residence. As its finances grew, it took in other pupils in addition to the orphans for whom it was intended.

By the end of the 18th century, the Governors of the George Heriot’s Trust had purchased the Barony of Broughton, thus acquiring extensive land for feuing (a form of leasehold) on the northern slope below James Craig’s Georgian New Town. This and other land purchases beyond the original city boundary generated considerable revenue through leases for the Trust long after Heriot’s death.

19th and 20th centuries

In 1846 there was an insurrection in the Hospital and fifty-two boys were dismissed This was the high point of a number of disturbances in the 1840s. Critics of hospital education blamed what they described as the monastic separation of the boys from home life. Only a minority (52 out of 180 in 1844) were in fact fatherless, which meant, these critics argued, that poorer families were leaving their children to Hospital care, even through holiday periods, and the influence of disaffected older boys. There were, however, ‘Auld Callants’ (former pupils) who were prepared to defend the Hospital as a source of hope and discipline to families in difficulties. This argument about the value of hospitals, which reached the pages of the London Times in late 1846 was taken up by Duncan McLaren when he became Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and therefore Chairman of the Hospital Governors, in 1851. McLaren pushed for the number of boys in the Hospital to be reduced and for the Heriot outdoor schools to be expanded with the resources thus saved

Duncan McLaren was the primary initiator of the 1836 Act that gave the Heriot Governors the power to use the Heriot Trust’s surplus to set up “outdoor” (i.e. outside the Hospital) schools Between 1838 and 1885 the Trust set up and ran 13 juvenile and 8 infant outdoor schools across Edinburgh[19] At its height in the early 1880s this network of Heriot schools, which did not charge any fees, had a total roll of almost 5,000 pupils. The outdoor Heriot school buildings were sold off or rented out (some to the Edinburgh School Board) when the network was wound up after 1885 as part of reforms to the Trust and the absorption of its outdoor activities by the public school system Several of these buildings, including the Cowgate, Davie Street, Holyrood and Stockbridge Schools, were designed with architectural features copied from the Lauriston Place Hospital building or stonework elements referring to George Heriot

George Heriot’s Hospital was at the centre of the controversies surrounding Scottish educational endowments between the late 1860s and the mid 1880s. At a time when general funding for secondary education was not politically possible, reform of these endowments was seen as a way to facilitate access beyond elementary education The question was, for whom; those who could afford to pay fees or those who could not? The Heriot’s controversy was therefore a central issue in Edinburgh municipal politics at this time. In 1875 a Heriot Trust Defence Committee (HTDC) was formed in opposition to the recommendations of the (Colebrooke) Commission on Endowed Schools and Hospitals, set up in 1872. These included making the Hospital a secondary technical day school, using Heriot money to fund university scholarships, introducing fees for the outdoor schools and accepting foundationers from outside Edinburgh. The HTDC saw this as a spoilation of Edinburgh’s poor to the benefit of the middle classes Already in 1870, under the permissive Endowed Institutions (Scotland) Act of the previous year, and again in 1879 to the (Moncreiff) Commission on Endowed Institutions in Scotland, and finally in 1883 to the (Balfour) Commission on Educational Endowments, Heriot’s submitted schemes of reform. All were turned down. The reasons included Heriot’s continuing commitment to free and hospital education, and its maintenance of the Heriot outdoor schools after the passage of the Education (Scotland) Act in 1872 brought in publicly supported, compulsory elementary education. The Balfour Commission had executive powers and used these in 1885 to impose reform on Heriot’s. The Hospital became a day school, charging a modest fee, for boys of 10 and above. Up to 120 foundationers, no younger than 7 years of age, enjoyed preferential admission. Greek was explicitly not to be taught. The new George Heriot’s Hospital School was, in other words, to be a modern, technically oriented institution. The outdoor school network was to be wound up and the resources used for a variety of scholarships and bursaries, including a number to be used for attendance at the High School and University of Edinburgh. These, rather than the new Heriot’s day school, were to provide a path to university education for those able and interested There were elements in this scheme of a response to contemporary European educational reforms, such as that exemplified by the German Realschulenabout:blankImageUpload an image file, pick one from your media library, or add one with a URL.UploadSelect ImageInsert from URL

The most uncontroversial aspect of the Balfour Commission’s scheme of 1885 for the reform of the Heriot’s Hospital and Trust was the takeover of the “Watt Institution and School of Arts” by the Trust This was to be renamed the Heriot-Watt College. This was not just a matter of the Trust providing financial support, but was part of a policy of encouraging technical education in Edinburgh. Provision was especially to be made for pupils to continue their studies after completing the higher classes of the new Heriot’s day school. The School and the College were both run under the Heriot board of governors until the development and financial needs of the College required a separation in 1927. The Trust continued to make a contribution to the College of £8,000 p.a. thereafter In 1966 the College was granted university status as Heriot-Watt University.

In 1979 Heriot’s became co-educational after admitting girls.

Modern era

In the early 21st century, George Heriot’s has around 1600 pupils. It still serves its charitable goal, also providing free education to a number of fatherless children, pupils who are referred to as “foundationers”. Today, the school is ranked as Edinburgh’s best performing school by Higher exam results. Its leavers (graduates) attend the country’s most selective and prestigious universities, including, in 2014, St Andrews , Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland; and Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and King’s College London in England.

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Scottish Architecture. Six Storey Gladstones Land.

The vernacular architecture of Scotland, as elsewhere, made use of local materials and methods. The homes of the poor were usually of very simple construction, and were built by groups of family and friends. Stone is plentiful throughout Scotland and was a common building material, employed in both mortared and dry stone construction. As in English vernacular architecture, where wood was available, crucks (pairs of curved timbers) were often used to support the roof. With a lack of long span structural timber, the crucks were sometimes raised and supported on the walls.  Walls were often built of stone, and could have gaps filled with turf, or plastered with clay. In some regions wattled walls filled in with turf were employed, sometimes on a stone base.Turf-filled walls were not long-lasting, and had to be rebuilt perhaps as often as every two or three years. In some regions, including the south-west and around Dundee, solid clay walls were used, or combinations of clay, turf and straw, rendered with clay or lime to make them weatherproof. Different regions used turfs, or thatch of broom, heather, straw or reeds for roofing.

Most of the early modern population, in both the Lowlands and Highlands, was housed in small hamlets and isolated dwellings. As the population expanded, some of these settlements were sub-divided to create new hamlets and more marginal land was settled, with sheilings (clusters of huts occupied while summer pasture was being used for grazing), becoming permanent settlements. The standard layout of a house throughout Scotland before agricultural improvement was a byre-dwelling or long house, with humans and livestock sharing a common roof, often separated by only a partition wall. Contemporaries noted that cottages in the Highlands and Islands tended to be cruder, with single rooms, slit windows and earthen floors, often shared by a large family. In contrast, many Lowland cottages had distinct rooms and chambers, were clad with plaster or paint and even had glazed windows.

Perhaps ten per cent of the population lived in one of many burghs that had grown up in the later Medieval period, mainly in the east and south of the country. A characteristic of Scottish burghs was a long main street of tall buildings, with vennels, wynds and alleys leading off it, many of which survive today. In towns, traditional thatched half-timbered houses were interspersed with the larger stone and slate-roofed town houses of merchants and the urban gentry.  Most wooden thatched houses have not survived, but stone houses of the period can be seen in Edinburgh at Lady Stair’s House, Acheson House and the six-storey Gladstone’s Land, an early example of the tendency to build upward in the increasingly crowded towns, producing horizontally divided tenements. Many burghs acquired tollbooths in this period, which acted as town halls, courts and prisons. They often had peels of bells or clock towers and the aspect of a fortress. The Old Tolbooth, Edinburgh was rebuilt on the orders of Mary Queen of Scots from 1561 and housed the parliament until the end of the 1630s. Other examples can be seen at Tain, Culross and Stonehaven, often showing influences from the Low Countries in their crow-stepped gables and steeples.

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Scottish Architecture. Dunstaffnage Castle.

Dunstaffnage Castle (Scottish Gaelic: Caisteal Dhùn Stadhainis) is a partially ruined castle in Argyll and Bute, western Scotland. It lies 3 miles (5 km) NNE of Oban, situated on a platform of conglomerate rock on a promontory at the south-west of the entrance to Loch Etive, and is surrounded on three sides by the sea. The castle and the nearby chapel ruin have been a Historic Scotland property since 1958. Both are Scheduled Ancient Monuments.

The castle dates back to the 13th century, making it one of Scotland’s oldest stone castles, in a local group which includes Castle Sween and Castle Tioram. Guarding a strategic location, it was built by the MacDougall lords of Lorn, and has been held since the 15th century by the Clan Campbell. To this day there is a hereditary Captain of Dunstaffnage, although they no longer reside at the castle. Dunstaffnage is maintained by Historic Scotland, and is open to the public, although the 16th century gatehouse is retained as the private property of the Captain. The prefix dun in the name means “fort” in Gaelic, while the rest of the name derives from Norse stafr-nis, “headland of the staff”.

Before Dunstaffnage

Before the construction of the castle, Dunstaffnage may have been the location of a Dál Riatan stronghold, known as Dun Monaidh, as early as the 7th century. It was recorded, by John Monipennie in 1612, that the Stone of Destiny was kept here after being brought from Ireland, and before it was moved to Scone Palace in 843. However, Iona and Dunadd are considered more likely, given their known connections with Dál Riatan and Strathclyde kings. Hector Boece records that the stone was kept at “Evonium”, which has traditionally been identified with Dunstaffnage, although in 2010 the writer A. J. Morton identified Evonium with Irvine in Ayrshire.

The MacDougalls.

There was a castle here in the time of Somerled, Lord of the Isles. However, the castle became the seat of Duncan MacDougall, Lord of Lorn and grandson of Somerled in the second quarter of the 13th century. He had also travelled to Rome in 1237 and was the founder of nearby Ardchattan Priory. Duncan’s son Ewen MacDougall inherited his father’s title in the 1240s, and expanded the MacDougall influence, styling himself “King of the Isles” though that title belonged to the MacDonalds. It is probable that Ewen built the three round towers onto the castle, and constructed and enlarged the hall inside.

Following Alexander III’s repulse of the Norse influence in Argyll, the MacDougalls backed the Scottish monarchy, and Ewen’s son Alexander was made the first sheriff of Argyll in 1293. However, they supported the Balliol side during the Wars of Scottish Independence which broke out a few years later. Robert Bruce defeated the Clan MacDougall at the Battle of the Pass of Brander in 1308 or 1309, and after a brief siege, took control of Dunstaffnage Castle.

Royal fortress.

Now a Crown property, Dunstaffnage was controlled by a series of keepers. James I seized the castle in 1431, following the Battle of Inverlochy, as his enemies were hiding inside. In 1455 James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas stayed at Dunstaffnage, on his way to treat with John MacDonald, Lord of the Isles. This followed James II’s attack on Douglas power, and led to the signing of the Treaty of Westminster-Ardtornish. A later keeper, John Stewart of Lorn, was a rival of Alan MacDougall, and was stabbed by his supporters on his way to his marriage at Dunstaffnage Chapel in 1463, although he survived long enough to make his vows. Although MacDougall took the castle, he was ousted by James III, who granted Dunstaffnage to Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll in 1470.

The south facade of Dunstaffnage Castle

Clan Campbell.

The Earls of Argyll appointed Captains to oversee Dunstaffnage, and keep it in readiness, on their behalf. Changes were made to the buildings, particularly the gatehouse, which was rebuilt around this time. The Campbells were loyal allies of the royal house, and Dunstaffnage was used as a base for government expeditions against the MacDonald Lords of the Isles, among others, during the 15th and 16th centuries. James IV visited Dunstaffnage on two occasions.

Dunstaffnage saw action during the Civil War, holding out against Montrose’s army in 1644. The castle was burned by royalist troops, following the failure of Argyll’s Rising in 1685, against the Catholic James VII. During the Jacobite risings of 1715 and 1745, the castle was occupied by government troops. Flora MacDonald, who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape from Scotland, was briefly imprisoned here while en route to imprisonment in London.

According to W. Douglas Simpson the castle appears in Tobias Smollet’s Humphry Clinker, which although not naming Dunstaffnage, presents “a fair picture of life in the castle in the third quarter of the eighteenth century”.

Decline and restoration.

The Campbells continued to add to the castle, building a new house over the old west range in 1725. However, the rest of the castle was already decaying. In 1810 an accidental fire gutted the gatehouse, and the Captains ceased to live here, moving to Dunstaffnage House some 2 km to the south-east. Tenants lived in the 1725 house within the castle until 1888.

Restoration work was undertaken in 1903 by the Duke of Argyll, the castle’s owner. This was followed in 1912 by a court case, in which the Court of Session ruled that Angus Campbell, the 20th hereditary Captain, had right of residence notwithstanding the Duke of Argyll’s ownership. Works were delayed by World War I, and the planned total restoration was never completed. In 1958, the 21st Captain and the Duke agreed to hand the castle into state care, and it is now open to the public as a Historic Scotland property. 


Plans of Dunstaffnage Castle


Dunstaffnage is an irregular quadrangular structure of great strength, with rounded towers at three of the angles. It measures approximately 35 by 30 metres (115 by 98 ft), and has a circumference of about 120 metres (390 ft). The walls are of coursed rubble, with sandstone dressings, and stand up to 18 m (60 ft) high, including the conglomerate bedrock platform. The walls are up to 3 m (10 ft) thick, affording strong defence to this highly strategic location, guarding the entrance to Loch Etive and the Pass of Brander beyond, and today commanding a splendid view. The parapet walk, which once followed the whole of the walls, has been partially restored with new stone flags. The original parapet is now also gone. Arrow slits, later converted into gunloops, are the only openings. Brass cannon recovered from wrecked vessels of the Spanish Armada were once mounted on the walls.

Round towers.

Soon after the construction of the castle walls, three round towers were built on the north, east, and west towers. The north tower, or donjon, is the largest, comprising three or four storeys originally, and probably housed the lord’s private apartments. The west tower is almost internal, barely projecting beyond the rounded corner of the curtain wall, and could only be entered via the parapet walk. The basement level contains a pit prison which was accessed from above. The east tower was almost completely rebuilt in the late 15th century as a gatehouse. Each tower was probably once topped by a conical roof.

The gatehouse, with the remains of the north-east hall range to the left

The gatehouse.

The gatehouse was built by the Campbells in the late 15th century, replacing an earlier round tower in the east corner. It takes the form of a four-storey harled tower house, with the entrance passage running through half the vaulted basement, the other half forming guard rooms with arrow slits facing the gate. The present approach to the gate is by a stone stair, replacing an earlier drawbridge. The tower was remodelled in the 18th century to provide reception rooms and a private suite. The dormer windows at the top are capped by the pediments from the 1725 house (see below), and bear the date, the Campbell arms, and the initials AEC and DLC, for Aeneas Campbell, 11th Captain, and his wife Dame Lilias. The pediments were moved here during the 1903 restoration works.

Internal ranges.

The north-west range of 1725, with the gatehouse on the right, seen from the parapet walk

The east range was located between the north and east towers, although only foundations remain. This was the principal range of buildings and contained a large hall above vaulted cellars. The hall had double-lancet windows, decorated with carved patterns, which were later blocked up; their outlines can be seen in the east curtain wall.

A second range stood along the north-west wall, and would have been connected to the hall range by the donjon tower. The ground floor housed a kitchen. In 1725 the range was remodelled into a two-storey house, accessed via a stone stair, and topped with the dormer windows which now form part of the gatehouse. The well in front is original, although the large stone surround is of 19th century date.

East end of Dunstaffnage Chapel, showing the lancet windows and the Campbell burial aisle beyond

Dunstaffnage Chapel.

A ruined chapel lies around 150 metres (490 ft) to the south-west of the castle. This was also built by Duncan MacDougall of Lorn, as a private chapel, and features detailed stonework of outstanding quality. Experts believe that the chapel was built in the second quarter of the 13th century. The chapel is 20 by 6 metres (66 by 20 ft), and formerly had a timber roof. The lancet windows carry dog-tooth carving, and have fine wide-splayed arches internally. The chapel was already ruinous in 1740, when a burial aisle was built on to the east end, to serve as a resting place for the Campbells of Dunstaffnage.

Captain of Dunstaffnage.

Traditionally, an officer called the Hereditary Captain of Dunstaffnage is responsible for the castle and its defence. The office still exists, and to retain the title (now rather a sinecure without military significance), the incumbent is required to spend three nights a year in the castle. No other responsibilities or privileges now attach to the post.

Castle ghost.

A ghost, known as the “Ell-maid of Dunstaffnage”, is said to haunt the castle. A type of gruagach, the ghost’s appearances are said to be associated with events in the lives of the hereditary keepers.

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