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Encyclopedia > Dundonald Castle

Dundonald Castle is situated on a hill overlooking the village of Dundonald, between Kilmarnock and Troon in South Ayrshire, Scotland. Dundonald Castle is a fortified tower house built for Robert II on his accession to the throne of Scotland in 1371 and it was used as a royal residence by the early Stewart kings for the next 150 years. Map of Kilmarnock town centre in 1819 Kilmarnock (Cill Mhearnáig in Scottish Gaelic, and Killie locally) is a large burgh in East Ayrshire, Scotland, with a population of about 60,000. ... Troon is a town in South Ayrshire, Scotland and also a village on the outskirts of Camborne in Cornwall. ... South Ayrshire (Siorrachd Inbhir Àir a Deas in Gaelic) is one of 32 unitary council regions in Scotland, covering the southern part of Ayrshire. ... Motto: (Latin for No one provokes me with impunity)1 Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official language(s) English, Gaelic, Scots 2 Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair MP  - First Minister Jack McConnell MSP Unification    - by Kenneth I... A tower house stands on a hillock near Quin along the back road from Limerick to Ennis. ... Robert the warrior and knight: the reverse side of Robert IIs Great Seal, enhanced as a 19th century steel engraving. ... The Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland, as used before 1603 The monarch of Scotland was the head of state of the Kingdom of Scotland. ... The Coat of Arms of King James I, the first British monarch of the House of Stuart The House of Stuart or Stewart was a royal house of the Kingdom of Scotland, later of the Kingdom of England, and finally of the Kingdom of Great Britain. ...

Contents

History

Dark age hill fort

The present castle stands on land where evidence suggest there used to be a hill fort. It is thought that a mixture of large timber built round houses and straight-sided structures occupy the interior. A timber laced stone rampart defines and defends the hill fort. The timber lacing caught fire and burnt with such intensity that the surrounding stonework melted, or vitrified. This firing happened about 1000 AD and seems to mark the end of the hill-fort’s existence. A hill fort is a fortified refuge or defended settlement, located to exploit a rise in elevation for military advantage. ... A vitrification experiment for the study of nuclear waste disposal at Pacific Northwest National Labs. ...


It was about this date that the independence of the British Kingdom of Strathclyde ceased, being absorbed into the kingdom of Scotland. Strathclyde (Welsh: Ystrad Clud) was one of the kingdoms of ancient Scotland in the post-Roman period. ... Motto: Nemo me impune lacessit (Latin: No one strikes me with impunity) Capital Edinburgh¹ Language(s) Gaelic, Scots Government Monarchy King/Queen  - 843-860 Kenneth I  - 1587–1625 James VI  - 1702-1714 Anne Legislature Parliament of Scotland History  - United 843  - Union of the Crowns March 24, 1603  - Act of Union...


The place name Dundonald means “Donald’s Fort”. Historians do not know who Donald was but he may have been one of three kings of that name who ruled in Strathclyde in the 10th century. The list of the Kings of Strathclyde concerns the kings of Strathclyde, a Brythonic Celt region in southern Scotland below Dál Riada and Pictavia. ...


Early castles

There have been three medieval castles present on this site. The first was built by one of the stewards of the king of Scots, most probably Walter, the first steward, who came to Scotland in 1136. There is no surviving evidence of this castle above ground today. The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Walter Stewart, the youngest son of Alan Fitzflaald, went to Scotland where he received land in Renfrew, including Paisley, and the hereditary dignity of High Steward or Seneschal of Scotland, from David I of Scotland. ...


The second castle was built in the late 13th Century by Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward, this castle was predominantly built of stone. It would have been one of the grandest baronial residences of its time. It was largely destroyed by the English during the Wars of Scottish Independence wars of independence in the early 14th century. There is little remaining of this castle, however there is a well and a rounded stump of a tower near to the present castle. Alexander Stewart (c. ... The Wars of Scottish Independence were a series of military campaigns fought between Scotland and England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. ...


The present castle

The third castle was built by Robert Stewart, probably to mark his accession to the throne as Robert II in 1371. It was three storeys high.


The top floor above the lofty stone vault was the upper hall – the great hall. It was for the more private use of the king and family. A great hall was the main room of a royal palace, a noblemans castle or a large manor house in the Middle Ages, and in the country houses of the 16th and early 17th centuries. ...


The first floor was the lower of the two halls – the laigh hall. It would have been used for more public activities like feasting and the holding of the baron court.


The ground floor was a storage area. It was probably originally subdivided providing cellars for different commodities like wine, ale, foodstuffs and fuel.


The tower house was extended in the 15th century to add additional private chambers and a prison. The outer courtyard (called more properly the barmkin) was completed and ancillary buildings (stables, bakehouses, brewhouses, smithy, etc) built against the barmkin wall.


The third castle comprises almost everything you see above ground today, including the awesome tower which dominates the hill.


The castle today

There is a visitor centre at the foot of the hill, which includes a cafe, souvenir shop and an interpretive exhibition. The exhibition outlines the history of the Castle and its preceding buildings with detailed models of the earlier castles on the site.


The visitor centre is owned by South Ayrshire Council and is operated on their behalf by The Friends of Dundonald Castle.


External link

  • Dundonald Castle home page

 
 

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