Ballindalloch Castle has been the family home of Macpherson-Grants since 1546. The first tower of the Z plan castle was built in 1546.
In 1590 the widow of the Grant of Ballindalloch married John Gordon, son Thomas Gordon of Cluny. John Grant, former Tutor of Ballindaloch, the administrator of the estate, killed one of John Grant's servants. This started a feud between the Earl of Huntly and the Earl of Moray. The Earl of Huntly went to Ballindalloch in November 1590 to arrest the Tutor. The Chief of Grant, John Grant of Freuchie promised to deliver the Tutor and his accomplices, accused of murder and other crimes, to Huntly Castle. However, Freuchie joined with the Tutor's men and the Earl of Moray, and came to Darnaway Castle, and there shot pistols at Huntly's officers and cannon from the castle, and killed John Gordon, brother of the Laird of Cluny.
After it was plundered and burned by James Graham, the first Marquess of Montrose, it was restored in 1645.
Extensions were added in 1770 by General James Grant of the American Wars of Independence (whose ghost is said to haunt the castle) and in 1850 by the architect Thomas MacKenzie. Further extensions carried out in 1878 were mostly demolished during modernisations enacted in 1965. It has been continuously occupied by the Russell and Macpherson-Grant families throughout its existence.
The castle houses an important collection of 17th century Spanish paintings. The dining room of Ballindalloch is said to be haunted by a ghost known as The Green Lady.
The castle grounds contain a 20th-century rock garden and a 17th-century dovecote. The rivers Spey and Avon flow through the grounds, offering excellent fishing. The famous Aberdeen Angus cattle herd resides in the castle estate.
Today, the castle is still occupied by the Macpherson-Grant family. It is open to tourists during the summer months and a number of workshops on its grounds are in active use.References:
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.
Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.
In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.
The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.
In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.
After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.
In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.
Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.
In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.
In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.