Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland
From the Twelfth to Eighteenth Century
By David MacGibbon and Thomas Ross (1887)

Saw this review on Amazon.com so thought I'd include it here...

Absolutely magnificent, these intrepid architects travelled the length and breadth of Scotland at the tail end of the 19th c making detailed architectural drawings of as many of Scotland's castles as they could.

This is the ultimate reference work for all those interested or writing about Scottish castles, or their architecture.

In five hard back volumes, you will be astounded by the detail and amount of information provided, complete with historical data.

The introductory chapters of Volume 1 detail the development of castle architecture throughout Europe, before concentrating on the Scottish style. The remainder of the work details specific castles, before providing appendices in Volume 5 on secondary subjects, such as town houses, churches, sundials, and Master Masons.

A required reference for castle enthusiasts anywhere.

Book Preface

A NUMBER of the sketches and plans which form the illustrations in the following pages were exhibited a few years ago in connection with papers on "Scottish Castles and Houses," read before the Edinburgh Architectural Association, when the attention they received suggested the idea of the present work.

No book has hitherto been published which deals systematically with the history of Scottish Castellated and Domestic Architecture. The late Mr. Billings' valuable work on the Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland is an important contribution, and his beautiful drawings are a charming record of the edifices he illustrates. Mr. Billings has also the merit of being amongst the very first to recognise and draw attention to the importance of our Scottish Domestic Architecture. But the absence of plans is a serious drawback, and the descriptions of the buildings, although full of interesting matter, do not deal in a systematic manner with the history of our Architecture, especially with the domestic portion of it.

Mr. Fergusson has also touched slightly, in his History of Architecture, on the subject of Scottish Domestic Architecture, but so slightly that it is evident he has not regarded it as an important element in the general history of the art.

The following pages, however, show that Scotland contains a most complete and almost unexplored series of domestic structures, exhibiting as well the gradual progress of Architecture from an early and rude epoch to more modern and refined times, as the growth of our national life and manners.

In dealing with this important series of buildings our chief object has been to trace the development of the Architecture, and to determine the stages of progress or periods into which it naturally divides itself. In order to render the historic sequence clear and distinct, and also to follow the steps by which the designs of one period passed into those of the period that followed, it is essential that the plans of the buildings be fully taken into account. We have therefore devoted much care to the accurate representation of these important elements in the design.

Our sketches are not intended to imitate or rival the beautiful and artistic etchings of some of our Scottish edifices which have from time to time been published, but simply to represent the ARCHITECTURE in what appeared to us the most intelligible and effective manner.

It is of great moment, in an inquiry like the present, that the history and development of the Architecture, as disclosed by the buildings, should be corroborated as far as possible by written evidence. We have accordingly endeavoured to trace and collect such of the written records of the erection or alteration of the structures as were available. But we do not pretend to have discovered any new information connected with the history of Scottish Architecture, save such as can be gathered from the internal evidence of the edifices themselves.

One important result of the present inquiry is to bring into prominence the fact that Scotland, like every other country in Europe during the period from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, possessed a Castellated or Domestic Architecture of its own, and that even in the seventeenth century, when almost everywhere else the Renaissance style reigned supreme, the native style still flourished.

It may be thought that the number of buildings illustrated is unnecessarily large. But it is, after all, only a small portion of the still surviving examples of Scottish Domestic Architecture, and there is really almost no repetition. In most of the keeps and towers there is doubtless a great similarity in general design, but it will be found that each furnishes some points of variety which give to it a special interest.

It is greatly to be regretted that most of our ancient edifices are rapidly passing away, either from natural decay or other destructive causes. Even since our sketches were made, many have disappeared either in whole or in part. The neglect with which they are generally treated probably arises, to some extent, from their bearing on the architectural and national history of Scotland not being sufficiently understood and appreciated. We are not without hope that this work may serve to direct the attention of proprietors and others to the value of our ancient domestic remains, and may thus help to preserve some of them from the decay and demolition which at present threaten speedily to overtake the greater number. Such a result would be most gratifying, not only to us, but to every one interested in our national history,

We would take this opportunity of gratefully thanking all those who have interested themselves in the present work, some of whom have kindly contributed drawings for our assistance.

To Mr. John Bryce, Architect, Edinburgh, our thanks are due for the free and ready access he has given us to the plans of ancient buildings made by his uncle, the late David Bryce, R.S.A., when, in the course of his professional practice, he was called on to consider how to alter or add to them. Of these drawings we have availed ourselves of some of those of Drum Castle and Earl Patrick's Palace, Kirkwall, to which we have referred more fully in the text. To Dr. Skene, Historiographer for Scotland, we are specially obliged for placing at our disposal the voluminous MS. work by his father, the late Mr. Skene of Rubislaw, on the Domestic Architecture of Scotland. This work is peculiarly valuable from its containing numerous plans and views of castles which no longer exist. From it we have obtained the plans of Castle Fraser, which were not otherwise available, and views of the extremely picturesque Castle of Cluny, now no more, together with some remarkable information regarding "lugs" and places of concealment.

We are also indebted to the Earl of Cawdor for the use of plans of Cawdor Castle; to the Hon. H. C. Maxwell Stuart for the use of plans of Traquair House, and for information regarding its history; to the Hon. Mrs. Henderson of Fordell for particulars connected with Fordell Castle; to James Lorimer, Esq., LL.D., Professor of Public Law in the University of Edinburgh, for information in connection with Kellie Castle; to J. Russell Mackenzie, Esq., Architect, Aberdeen, and Messrs. C. & P. H. Chalmers, Solicitors, Aberdeen, for the use of plans and elevations of Fyvie Castle; to David Douglas, Esq., for permission to reproduce a drawing of Burgie Castle, from the unpublished series of views in Scotland of John Claude Nattes; to Messrs. Wardrop & Anderson, Architects, for the plans and elevations of Udny Castle (now much altered); to Mr. H. J. Blanc, Architect, for drawings of St. Margaret's Chapel in Edinburgh Castle; to Mr. Robert Murray for the plans of Neidpath Castle, and others not yet published; to Lord Napier and Ettrick for useful suggestions on Stirling Castle; to Mr. R. Bruce Armstrong for notes on Hermitage Castle; to Dr. Dickson, of the Register House; James T. Clark, Esq., Librarian of the Advocates' Library; and many architectural friends for their aid and encouragement in our labours.

We would also take this opportunity of acknowledging the cordial and generous reception we have almost invariably received from the proprietors and occupants of the houses we have visited in pursuit of our subject, and the free permission which has (with very few exceptions) been accorded to us to make such measurements and drawings as we required.


October 1886.

Click here to download the index of the complete works (1.2Mb)

Click here to download Volume 1 (45Mb)
Click here to download Volume 2 (65Mb)
Click here to download Volume 3 (52Mb)
Click here to download Volume 4 (31Mb)
Click here to download Volume 5 (67Mb)

Electric Scotland would like to acknowledge the kind permission given by Birlinn Limited, the publishers of the reprint of these volumes, to publish their volume 4 of this set for inclusion in our web site. Note that the quality of the adobe file is not representative of the quality of print of the actual volume as we've compressed it to make it easier to download.

Volume 1 - First Period 1200 - 1300

Volume 1 - Second Period 1300 - 1400

See also

The Ruined Castles of Mid-Lothian
Their Position; their Families, their Ruins; and their History by John Dickson, FSA Scot (1894)

The Story of Bothwell Castle
Tillietudlem, Crookston and other Castles by H. C. Shelley

Return to our Antiquarian Scottish Books in Adobe Format Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus