Cullen House is a large house, now divided into fourteen separate dwellings, about 1 kilometre south west of the coastal town of Cullen in Moray. Originally built between 1600 and 1602, incorporating some of the fabric of a medieval building on the site, it was the seat of the Ogilvies of Findlater, who went on to become the Earls of Findlater and Seafield, and remained in their family until 1982. The house has been extended and remodelled several times since 1602, by prominent architects such as William Adam, his sons James and John Adam, and David Bryce. It has been described by the architectural historian Charles McKean as 'one of the grandest houses in Scotland'.
The house sits in an expansive estate, enlarged in the 1820s when the entire village of Cullen, save for Cullen Old Church, was demolished to make way for improvements to the grounds by Lewis Grant-Ogilvy, 5th Earl of Seafield. A new village, closer to the coast, was constructed for the inhabitants.
Cullen House was designated a Category A listed building in 1972, by which time it had fallen into a state of disrepair. Its contents were sold in 1975, and in 1982 it was purchased by Kit Martin, a specialist in saving historic buildings, who worked with the local architect Douglas Forrest to convert it into fourteen individual dwellings, while retaining much of the original interior of the building. The house was badly damaged by fire in 1987, and underwent an extensive programme of restoration that lasted until 1989.References:
Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.
Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.
In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.
In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.
After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.