Doune Castle

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Doune Castle, a stately baronial stronghold, at the SE end of Doune village, on the steep, woody, greensward peninsula, formed by the river Teith and Ardoch Burn. Roofless and ruinous, though still a majestic pile, it has been said to date from the 11th century, but probably was either founded or enlarged by Murdoch Stewart, second Duke of Albany, and Governor of Scotland from 1419 to 1424. At his execution (25 May 1425) on the heading-hill of Stirling, it went to the Crown, and, given by James IV. to Margaret, his queen, passed in 1525 to her third husband, Henry Stewart, a lineal descendant of the first Duke of Albany. To his brother, Sir James, the custody of it was afterwards granted by James V.; and his son and namesake, created Lord Donne in 1581, coming into full possession, transmitted the same to his posterity, the Earls of Moray. From time to time a residence of royalty, including of course Queen Mary, it was garrisoned in the 45 for Prince Charles Edward by a nephew of the celebrated Rob Roy, and then was mounted with a twelve-pounder and several swivels. Scott brings his hero 'Waverley' within its walls; and it was really the six days' prison of Home, the author of -Douglas, who, with five fellowcaptives from the field of Falkirk, escaped by means of a blanket-twisted rope. This noble specimen of Scottish baronial architecture measures 96 feet each way, and, with walls 10 feet in thickness and 40 in height, comprises a massive north-eastern keep-tower, which, 80 feet high, commands a most lovely view; within are the court-yard, guardhouse, kitchen, great hall (63 by 25 feet), the Baron's Hall, and Queen Mary's Room. 'The mass of buildings,' says Dr Hill Burton, 'forms altogether a compact quadrangle, the towers and curtains serving as the extensive fortifications, and embracing a court-yard nearly surrounded by the buildings. The bastioned square tower of the 15th century is the ruling feature of the place; but the edifice is of various ages, and includes round staircase towers and remains of the angular turrets of the beginning of the 17th century. Winding stairs, long ranging corridors and passages, and an abundance of mysterious vaults, strong, deep, and gloomy, reward the investigator who has leisure enough to pass an hour or two within its hoary walls; but, as we generally find in the old Scottish baronial edifices, there are few decorative features, and immense strength has been the great aim of each builder.' See Billings' Baronial Antiquities (1852).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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