Monday, 12 September 2016

Three surprising facts about Doune Castle

I learned three new things about Doune Castle on a recent visit.

The first is that the old Scottish ballad "The Bonnie Earl O'Moray" refers to a Lord of Doune.

Ye Hielands and ye Lowlands,
O, whaur hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl o' Moray,
And laid him on the green.
He was a braw gallant,
And he rode at the ring,
And the bonny Earl o' Moray,
He might hae been a king.
O lang will his lady
Look frae the Castle Doune
Ere she see the Earl o' Moray
Come soundin' through the toun.

Now wae be to ye, Huntly,
And wherefore did ye say?
I bade ye bring him wi' ye,
And forbade ye him to slay.
He was a braw gallant,
And he played at the glove;
And the bonny Earl o' Moray,
He was the Queen's true love.
O lang will his lady
Look frae the Castle Doune
Ere she see the Earl o' Moray
Come soundin' through the toun.

I remember having to learn this by heart when I was young.  The Earl of Moray (pronounced Murray) in the ballad is James Stewart (2nd Lord Doune and 2nd Earl of Moray reported to have been very handsome, who was murdered by George Gordon, Earl of Huntly in 1592.  The Stewarts owned Doune Castle and in the Castle you can see a picture commissioned by Moray's mother, Margaret Campbell as evidence of the injuries received by her son.

You can see the sword slashes on his body, especially his face.  It is said that as he was dying, he said to Huntly - "You have spoiled a better face than your own."!

The second new fact is that much of the furniture in the duke's hall, including this wondeful chair was made from wood from the gallows tree which grew just outside the castle and blown down in a gale in 1878.  The decoration on the chair shows the family crest - a pelican in her nest feeding her young and their motto - salus per christum redemptorem (salvation through Christ the redeemer).

Thirdly - Mary Queen of Scots visited  Doune Castle in 1563 and slept in the room above the kitchens which is believed to have been kept for special guests.

Would have been lovely and warm and had its own latrine - surely an essential commodity for a Queen!  Find out more about Doune Castle at Historic Environment Scotland.

The huge fireplace and serving hatches in the kitchen at Doune.
Of course Doune is becoming better known now because of its association with Outlander, the Starz TV series of the books by Diana Gabaldon.  It is the setting for Castle Leoch and it you watch Episodes 2, 3 and 4 of Series 1, you'll get some great views of Doune.

Love, Liz


Julie said...

What a wonderful place to visit, I did watch Outlander.

janice15 said...

What a lovely Castle. My grandmother was from Scotland... I wish I knew more about it.. Everytime I see Mary Queen of Scots it reminds me of that. Thank you for sharing this piece of history. Happy new week, with love Janice

mamasmercantile said...

Now that really is an impressive place to visit and is on our list the next time we visit Scotland.