Cullen Old Church is the parish church for Cullen and Deskford. John R. Hume describes Cullen Old Church as a fine example of late Scots Gothic architecture, and it was designated a Category A listed building in 1972. It is still an active place of worship, with weekly services presided over by Rev Douglas F Stevenson.
First mentioned in records dating from 1236 that document its elevation to a parish church, it was further elevated to collegiate status in 1543, and underwent a series of extensions, improvements and renovations in the centuries that followed. It is known for being the burial place of the internal organs of Queen Elizabeth de Burgh. After Elizabeth died at Cullen Castle in 1327, her body was taken to Dunfermline for interment, but the organs, which were removed as part of the embalming process, were buried at the church. Her husband, King Robert the Bruce, subsequently established a chaplaincy at the church to offer prayers for her soul.
The church sits within a high-walled churchyard, amongst many ornately carved tombs and memorial slabs. It is a simple, cross-plan church, rubble-built with sandstone and granite ashlar detailing for windows, corner stones and tracery. At the apex of the west gable there is an 18th-century bellcote, its south gable has four tall lancet windows, and there is a point-headed window, featuring intersecting tracery, in the gable at the east end of the nave. Rectangular heraldic plaques celebrate the Ogilvy and Gordon families, in honour of the founder of the college and his wife.
The interior has a cruciform layout, with a narrow nave, and aisles to north and south. A gallery runs above the west end of the nave, and curves round into the north aisle. There are wooden pews throughout, which were installed in the later 19th century. The walls would have been plastered originally, but this was removed in 1967 to allow repointing of the interior walls. The ceiling retains its original plasterwork with polygonal profiling. Against the south wall, the Seafield Loft, a substantial two-storey gallery, dominates the nave. Its panelled front bears heraldic designs and foliage; it is supported by Corinthian columns at either end, and accessed by a flight of stairs at its east end. An ornate sacrament house, donated by Alexander Ogilvy of Findlater, who helped establish the collegiate church, and his wife Elizabeth Gordon, is built into the east end of the north chancel wall.References:
Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.
Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.
In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.
During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.
In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.
The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.