A break from the never-ending project house
I’ve been wanting to visit Caerlaverock Castle in Dumfries and Galloway for a long time but have not been more than an hour’s journey away from home for the last couple of years. Things being on the improve we ventured forth for a couple of days, on one of which we did – visit the castle, that is. Having had my adventure I thought I’d share it with you.
First built in the C13, besieged, damaged and repaired with large scale rebuilding of ‘new’ sections completed c1634 and besieged again in 1640 after which it was abandoned, the whole ‘complex’ is an interesting mix.
Why did I want to see it?
This castle is built on a triangular ground plan and I’d never seen the like before. However, on entering I found that the triangular layout was the least of the surprises.
When you enter a medieval style castle in the United Kingdom what do you expect to see?
(click on an image to view more clearly in full gallery and reach the link for larger image – below right of each gallery image)
Entrance with lots of additions and alterations visible at the very top. It is a paired entrance tower model of castle planned originally to have most of the accommodation within it. The upper floors now have re-styled spaces done at a much later period.
Step through into the inner main courtyard and turn around to look back at the towers and this is what you see. Very different to anything I’d been privileged to see before and a little Mediterranean looking I thought.
And on the right, shouldering up against one of the towers, there is this rebuild slotted in with designs carried out from architectural fashion plates of the time.
No stone left un-photographed
I don’t think I’ve ever taken quite so many photos in such a short time. I won’t burden you with the lot but here are some of the stone carving, mostly fireplaces, to be found in the ruins. Most of the photos depict items dating I think from the late C15 through to the 1630s rebuild.
Middle period section
to the right in courtyard
Stone fire surround – left-hand side when facing it
and the one on the right side has totally different decoration.
Detail of left-hand side decoration
Ceiling corbels? Three around the same room as the first fireplace
It wasn’t until I’d taken the photos and viewed them that I could make out the designs carved in – and wasn’t that a surprise?
This one in particular was hard to make out as it’s covered in rich greenery, but I’d say that’s a little figure with hands folded across its chest and not a trefoil after all!
Larger fireplace in a following room. Here again the two fireplace surrounds are different
and the faces of each surround is different too – inner face of left side
Detail of the inner face
and the other face of the same side
Detail of the outer face
Later rebuild of the 1600s
On the first floor of the 1600s building. Large fireplaces of varying widths with a more classical style adornment. Not having a metre rule to hand I used my obliging assistant (5′ 7½”) as a guide to the height.
Curls and swirls for fire surround bracketing
but still with the odd fleur-de-lys thrown in
Above to the left are the further two floors-worth of fireplaces
More up above a similar but narrower fireplace. Just how wide were the tops of these flues?
A more substantial overmantel
on this much larger and taller fireplace in the third room
Whilst on the ground floor there’s a kitchen fireplace and bread oven.
Please forgive my somewhat garbled reporting of the history of the castle and, if you would like to know more, it would be safer (and more informative) if you follow the link above (and any others you can find) about the history of Caerlaverock.
All fireplaced-out? Are you sure?
Go on, have one more for luck
Floating fireplace through window of 17th century façade.