Monday, January 21, 2008


Inpassing made a comment about the castles and their differences. My reply was more than I expected so I posted my comment here.

The tall part of the Crathes Castle is older and considered a "tower house" and yes that does depict wealth. The land was given to the Burnetts by Robert the Bruce. I guess the type of castle you built is determined on the land you own and best way to fortify your home and protect your family. The castle was started in 1553, and completed in about 40 years (and I think two years on my current house is a long time). Then the lower L part was built on and is called the Queen Anne wing. Another wing was added onto the back called the Queen Victoria wing, but that wing was totally destroyed by fire. The Queen Anne wing was also destroyed by the fire, but rebuilt. The Burnett family chose not to rebuild the Victoria wing and build their home separate from the castle since it had been turned over to the National Trust for Scotland which is like a heritage preservation group. If you go to wikipedia, you can read how this castle was built in a bog rather than on a cliff for strategic purposes. People normally lived on the upper floors while the lower floors were storage, dungeon, guard rooms. Once more it was for defense purpose. The Burnetts apparently followed the politically correct religion where as the Earl Marischal of Dunnottar Castle chose to rebel and not switch churches according to the king of the day. His choice was his political downfall and eventually his lands were forfeit and fell into ruins.

English history is so confusing with its different kings and queens and royalty and wannabes. Then you throw in the equally confusing Catholic vs Protestant movements and power grabs and there was just a lot of turmoil. It is amazing that any castle came through it all and still stand.

As for damsels in distress, I'm sure there were a few. These castles are cold. I would imagine trying to take care of such a huge household and keep up with the Burnetts was quite chore not to mention all that yard work!

Nearby Drum Castle has some great history and looks more like Dunnottar but is not in ruins. Unfortunately, it is not open to the public in the winter. Another nearby caslte is Craigievar Castle which is much more like Crathes. The two families were supposedly very close. Castle Fraser, which we were able to walk around, but not enter, is another neighboring castle. It is more the style of Crathes. Wikipedia has some great info on all of these castles and their connections as well as their architects/builders. Not only did some of these castles have lots to do with Robert the Bruce, they were connected by marriage also. Fascinating!


The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

I've heard of William Wallace (or Wallis per Lou's rendering) and i've heard of Robert the Bruce...but William the Bruce is a new one on me. Not that it couldn't happen, i just hadn't seen that name in any of my Scottish military history books.

Buck said...

The Burnetts apparently followed the politically correct religion ...

The penalty for not being PC was pretty danged severe back in those days. Brings new (old?) meaning to the phrase "Sorry... I lost my head."

The National Trusts of both England and Scotland can thank Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs for their large real estate holdings. Most of the properties now held by the National Trusts were "donated" because the families couldn't afford the taxes, or so the story goes.

I met a real "Lord of the Manor" one time in England... he took my one pound parking fee in the car park on the manor grounds. Just "making ends meet," said he.

Bag Blog said...

LOL Ah, Piper, how did I miss that? Could it be my history laden mind or should I pretend that I knew what I was saying all along? I can hardly type this because I can't quit laughing. But hey, I corrected the Wallis thing days ago.

verification word: dimghub - how very appropriate.

Buck, This is just a theory, but the feudal system was not really abolished until fairly recently and in some ways still exists (according to wiki and one of Toby's coworkers) Once it was done away with, could that lack of income have been the reason so many castles were turned over to the NTS? I would think it cost a lot to keep up those drafty ancient buildings and gardens - money that was no longer coming in from the land.

Bag Blog said...

By the way, Piper, were those positive or negative comments :)

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

just wanted to clarify...i'm forever second guessing myself. glad i at least made ya laugh. Well, i'm sitting here at my bar...looking at the clock thinking...its 9:20 Aberdeen time, wonder if MamaLou and PapaToby are having a pint and working through some God blessED fish n chips? Oh by the way...the Stella? is that that funky Artois that those uppity Euromericans drink? blech! to tastes like French fried Rolling Rock .

Dawn said...

Lou, great posts, well worth the time taken out of my ever expanding schedule today and the comments have been extremely entertaining. :) although,
Piper-"french fried rolling rock"?

Buck said...

Jay siad: it tastes like French fried Rolling Rock .

LOL! I am SO with you on that, Jay!! OTOH, I don't think I've EVER seen Stella in these parts. Up in ABQ and Santa Fe, yeah...but not around here.

Bag Blog said...

I guess I have become a uppity Euroamerican, 'cause I like Stella. And I love french fries.