Friday, 17 August 2012

An Appreciation of old Scottish Country Stately Homes and Castles (Part Four)

This is the fourth part of my gallery celebrating Scottish stately homes and castles. The images in this gallery were taken during the Edwardian period and are from my own family collection. I have attempted to provide a history of each home or castle however the fact that many such old homes are in ruinous, vacant or no longer exist is to be regretted. The loss of any historic building is indeed unfortunate so this gallery also serves as a celebration of this lost heritage and the various families over the centuries who built and owned these fascinating properties.

The Quadrangle, Linlithgow Palace, pre 1907

Linlithgow Palace lies in the town of Linlithgow in West Lothian, just 15 miles west of Edinburgh. The palace was one of the principal residences of the Scottish Monarchs during the 15th and 16th centuries. 

The location has a history of occupation reaching back to at least Roman times. King David I (1124 - 1153) was the first Monarch to build a royal residence here, also founding the town which sprung up around it. Kind Edward I of England, who invaded Scotland in 1296, had a defensive fortification known as 'the Peel' built around the Royal residence. Sixty men and 140 women helped dig the ditches; the men being paid twopence daily and the women a penny. A hundred soldiers were still employed as labourers on the castle in November 1301, continuing into the Summer of 1303. The site made it a convenient military base for securing the supply route between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle.  

In 1424, the town of Linlithgow was partially destroyed in a great fire with the Royal residence being badly damaged. King James I of Scotland then started rebuilding as a grand residence for Scottish royalty as well as beginning the rebuilding of the Church of St Michael immediately to the south of the palace. The earlier church had been used as a storeroom during Edward's occupation. Over the following century the Palace developed into a formal courtyard structure with four ranges. Later Scottish Monarchs added significant additions. James V, who was born in the Palace in April 1512, added the outer gateway and an elaborate courtyard fountain. The stonework of the South facade was also renewed and unified during the 1530's. Mary Queen of Scots, who was born at the Palace in December 1542, stayed here occasionally during her reign. 

After the Union of the Scottish and English Crowns in 1603 the Royal Court became largely based in England with Linlithgow then being little used. The old North range (which is believed to have contained Mary Queen of Scots apartments) collapsed on the 6th September 1607 but King James had it rebuilt between 1618 and 1622. The carvings were designed by the mason William Wallace. In July 1620, the Architect James Murray estimated that 3000 stones in weight of lead would be needed to cover the roof, costing £3600 in Scottish money. On 5 July 1621 the Earl of Mar wrote to King James to tell him that the Palace would be ready for the King at Michaelmas. However, the only reigning monarch to then stay at Linlithgow after this date was King Charles I who spent a night here in 1633. Thereafter the Palace quickly fell into decline.

An English visitor in October 1641 recorded that the roof of the great hall was already gone, the fountain vandalised by those who objected on religious grounds to the motto "God Save the King," but some woodcarving remained in the Chapel Royal. In 1648, part of the new North range was occupied by the Earl of Linlithgow. Bonnie Prince Charlie visited Linlithgow on his march south in September 1745 but did not stay overnight. It is said that the fountain was made to flow with wine in his honour. The end came in January 1746 when troops of the English Duke of Cumberland's army marched out of the Palace leaving a fire(s) burning which quickly caught hold of the building and it burnt out. The historic Palace walls remain, now being managed by Historic Scotland.

Jerviston Castle & Gardens, near Motherwell

Old Jerviston House or Castle [sic Terviston Castle] and Gardens near Motherwell is a typical medium-sized Laird's [land-owner's] residence dating from the late 16th century. Built in the L-plan, the walls rise to three storeys with an attic. The ground level basement contains a vaulted kitchen and a cellar. The entrance in the wing led directly to the main turnpike stair which rises to the first floor which contains the hall. Above the entrance is a lintel which has a partly obliterated inscription including the initials R B and E H (Jerviston was a property of the Baillie family) and surmounted by a heraldic panel. A private internal circular staircase, corbelled out between where the two wings join, rises from the first floor to sleeping accommodation contained in "small chambers" above and up to attic level. 

As of 1953, Old Jerviston House was noted as being "still roofed and complete, but becoming dilapidated and sinking due to collapsed mine workingsThere have been some outbuildings attached to the E wall, but these were probably of a later date". Images taken about 1963 show the fabric of the building to be in a quite dangerous state. A full set of architectural drawings dated about 1964 survive. As of 1965 the House was noted to be unoccupied and in a bad state of repair "but plans were on foot for its rehabilitation". Old Jerviston House was however subsequently demolished, most likely at the same time as the nearby Adam designed New Jerviston House dating from 1782 which was demolished in 1966. Part of the original stone garden wall may however survive. 

Bibliography :

- Various Internet sources
- All images are from my own collection and may be freely copied provided a link is given back to this page.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder why King James I put a lot of money renovating Linlithgow. Either he thought the royals would go back to Scotland for a holiday each year or he was preparing for his old age if the English threw him out.

    In either case, he was wrong. Nonetheless it is amazing that the palace could not be given some use. What a tragic waste.


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