Saw this review on
Amazon.com so thought I'd include it here...
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
A required reference for
castle enthusiasts anywhere.
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 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.
92 GEORGE STREET,
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
Volume 1 - First
Period 1200 - 1300
Castle Roy, Inverness-shire
Kinclaven Castle, Perthshire
Lochindorb Castle, Morayshire
Loch-an-Eilan Castle, Inverness-shire
Volume 1 - Second Period 1300 - 1400
The Ruined Castles of
Their Position; their Families, their Ruins; and their History by John
Dickson, FSA Scot (1894)
The Story of
Tillietudlem, Crookston and other Castles by H. C. Shelley
The Castle Guy and the
When I moved to Scotland
about 13 years ago, I was excited by the prospect of visiting its
castles. As a medievalist and castle enthusiast, I really looked forward
to the prospect of visiting new sites, finding out new history and new
architectural forms. You see, south of the border, Scottish history
isn’t taught. At all, beyond mentioning that James VI became James I of
England. I had studied Edward I as my specialist subject at university,
so I was better armed than most, but beyond that king’s involvement in
the Great Cause, I knew very little.
As I started to visit the sites in my local area, I was surprised to
find that there was no central point of reference to turn to –
especially when considering castles which are not part of the main
“tourist trail”. If you remove the National Trust, and what is now
Historic Environment Scotland from the equation, you are left with a
handful of well known sites, and very little written about the rest. I
didn’t feel this was good enough, and started out on a project which has
resulted in two 300+ page volumes so far, detailing the history and
description of all the fortified sites in my locality. “Fortress
Scotland” is set to run to four volumes; I don’t think I can do more!
However I also started visiting other areas of Scotland, and the castles
there. So far I have personally visited – and photographed - over 600
sites. As part of my website, I decided to share my love of castles, and
address a fundamental shortfall in Scottish tourism – a lack of
centralised information. The Castle Guide is the ongoing – and growing –
result of this. A gazetteer which shows you a picture of what you can
see, tells you where the castle is, whether your visit is permitted by
the landowner, and key basic information, including useful relevant
websites. It also contains an article written by me which describes the
location, the remains, and the history of each castle. Some are more
detailed than others, often depending on the information available.
Currently there are 325 published articles on the website. On average
each article takes me 3-4 hours to write, not including the time taken
to visit and photograph the castle. I have not, as yet, visited many of
the islands, and I have been fortunate in many cases to be permitted to
use photographs provided by third parties. Historic Scotland generously
allowed me to use their images of most of these.
Eventually I intend for there to be over 500 articles on Scottish
castles on the website, and for it to be an essential part in the
traveller’s toolkit when deciding which Scottish castle to visit. There
is the facility to search by town and clan name as well as for castles
by name. In addition, I have written a 60 page guide to Edinburgh
Castle, and am part way through writing a (longer!) guide to Stirling.
More will follow and these are designed to allow the visitor to take
guided tours of castles using their phone as the principal . This bigger
guide (and those which follow) can be downloaded from my website in pdf
I hope that you all enjoy the site and find it useful! Here is an
example of an article; Avoch Castle, also known as Ormond. It was once
one of the most formidable castles in the north of Scotland, and the
home of Andrew Murray, who fought alongside Wallace against the English.
It is an example of a castle used in multiple periods, suffering
multiple destruction events, and which now sits as a prominent hill
outside the village. Much of the history and architecture remains
unknown, and it has not been excavated since 1883, although it was
resurveyed last year.
The site of Avoch Castle is easily seen to the south-east as one enters
the village of Avoch, on the southern shore of the Black Isle of Ross.
It is a very imposing hill which is best appreciated from the harbour
area. However there are no upstanding remains of this once-impressive
stronghold on the summit, just a few grass-covered footings, and a
memorial to Andrew Murray of Avoch, who led the northern rebellion
against Edward I in the time of William Wallace.
The castle occupies a strategically important site, guarding the
northern shore of the Moray Firth, and was probably founded in the 12th
century during the campaigns of King William the Lion into the area in
defence of his crown against the rival MacWilliam clan. It is said to
have been the seat of the Ormond family, but this appears unlikely. One
of the principal families to be granted land in the north - and given
free reign to advance north of the Black Isle was the de Moravia family,
a branch of whom took the name Sutherland and became Earls of
Sutherland. As Andrew Murray - a member of the same family - held this
important castle in the 1290s, it seems more likely that Avoch was a
Murray stronghold from very early on. In addition, the name Ormond
appears to date to the mid 15th century, after the castle had been
destroyed, and might be a corruption of "Avoch Mount" (Avoch is
pronounced "Och" locally).
The castle remained with the Murray family until the 1360s, but as a
secondary property of the Lords of Bothwell. As the Murrays had
supported Robert the Steward against King David II, the last of the
family was sent to England as a hostage, and died there in 1361, leaving
an heiress to inherit. Jean Murray was married to Archibald, 3rd Earl of
Douglas, and from 1361 to 1455 it remained a Douglas property, and was
held by Archibald's grandson Hugh, who was made Earl of Ormond in 1445.
When the family rebelled and were forfeited in 1452-55, Hugh was
executed, and James II took possession of Avoch Castle, possibly renamed
Ormond by the Douglases.
The castle consisted of a rectangular inner ward with square towers at
the corners, a great hall, and a gatehouse, which occupied the summit of
the hill. A ditch separated it from the walled triangular outer ward to
the south, itself with smaller towers, and massive earthworks protected
the northern end of the hill, possibly defended by a watch tower at the
northernmost end. A further walled area lower down the slope to the west
contained a well, and an outer gateway. There may have been a middle
gate overlooked by a defended redoubt to the south of the ditch between
the castle wards.
The castle at Avoch was almost certainly defended by the Douglases
during the civil war with James II, but a siege is not recorded. The
lands including the moothill of Ormond were granted to the younger son
of James III in 1476, it seems likely that the castle was slighted at
this time. No further suggestion can be found that the castle was
repaired, making it seem likely that Avoch Castle was destroyed in 1455
and abandoned altogether. It is accessible along public footpaths, but
these can become muddy and unpleasant in wet weather.
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