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Doune Castle

Doune Castle

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Doune Castle
Doune Castle

Doune Castle

 

 


Doune Castle

Doune Castle Scotland

Doune Castle is not readily glimpsed from the town of Doune, itself, strangely enough lying in a low but strong position at the junction of Ardoch and Teith. It is a large and magnificent courtyard-type castle of the 14th and early 15th centuries, and its splendours and exciting history may only be hinted at here.

 

It consists of two great and tall keeps,, linked by a lower range of building containing a notable Great Hall with centre-of-the-floor fireplace, to form the north side of a quadrangular court, the other three sides being enclosed by a tremendous 4o-feet-high curtain-wall, 8 feet thick and topped by a parapet and wall-walk. Of the two keeps, the older and higher is to the north-east, with the doorway pend driving through. Although undoubtedly there was an older nucleus, most of the present castle was built by Robert, Duke of Albany, brother of Robert III, who had married the heiress Countess of Menteith, and by his son, Murdoch, 2nd Duke, both Regents of Scotland during young James I's enforced exile in England--for which exile, in due course, the said James had off Duke Murdoch's head. The original principal messuage-place of this ancient Celtic earldom was the castle on the island of Inch Talla, in the Lake of Menteith; but this proving an inconvenient place when times grew a little more settled, it was moved to Doune, which really should be called the Doune, or Dun of Monteith. After the execution of Murdoch Stewart and his sons, the castle and earldom was merged with the Crown, until James IV settled it on his English queen, Margaret Tudor--who, in 1525 passed it to her third husband, Henry Stewart, Lord Methven, actually a descendant of Albany. James V granted it to another of the same Stewart line, who became Lord Doune and whose grandson married the Regent Moray's daughter, to become himself the famed Bonnie Earl of Moray of the ballad. Their descendant is still the owner; and though the castle fell into partial ruin, the then Earl of Moray restored it in 1883. It is, naturally, a magnet for visitors, and is open from 9 to 6 daily, or dusk if earlier. Here stayed Mary Queen of Scots, and many another royal figure. Rob Roy's nephew, Gregor MacGregor of Glengyle, garrisoned it for Prince Charles Edward in 1745--during which siege one of the prisoners was the young Reverend John Home, of Athelstaneford, captured while fighting for the government at the Battle of Falkirk. He managed to lower himself from a window by a blanket-rope and made his escape. An exciting episode for a clergyman, a poet and the author of the Douglas tragedy, for which last flirtation with the theatrical he aroused the wrath of the Presbytery of Edinburgh and had to vacate his pulpit.

Not far to the east of Doune Castle, on higher ground, is the most attractive late 6th century lesser laird's house of Newton Doune, a small L-planned fortalice, harled and pink-washed, unusual in that its wing has a rounded not a square gable. It was the residence of a branch of the Edmonstone of Duntreath family, who became hereditary captains of the great castle close by, for the Earls of Moray. Like their masters, they remained loyal to the royal house of Stewart, and in 1708 the Edmonstone Laird of Newton was one of the five Perthshire lairds arrested in an abortive Jacobite attempt. It is interesting to note that, in September 1745, Prince Charlie 'pree'd the mou', kissed the mouth, of Miss Robina Edmonstone, at Doune Lodge, near by, although this house was then called Cambuswallace. It is a handsome white mansion, standing pleasingly on a green terrace above parkland, just over a mile west of the town, and is now the seat of the Earl of Moray's heir, Lord Doune.

If you would like to visit this area as part of a highly personalized small group tour of my native Scotland please e-mail me:

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