Earlshall Castle was built by Sir William Bruce, a survivor of the Battle of Flodden, in 1546. One member of the family died at the battle of Worcester in 1651. Another, Sir Andrew, gained himself the name “Bloody Bruce” by hacking off the hands and head of Covenanter Richard Cameron after defeating him at the battle of Airds Moss during the Killing Time.
The castle became abandoned and ruinous, until it was restored by Sir Robert Lorimer in 1892, for R W R Mackenzie, a bleacher from Perth. It has passed through several hands since, and is still occupied. The tapestries, paintings and Lorimer furniture have been dispersed.
There is a main block of three storeys and a garret. There is a large tower at one corner, with a small stair-turret in the angle with the main block. On the other corner a round stair tower is corbelled out to square; at the top is a watch-chamber. The dormer pediments are decorated by carved heraldic devices.
The vaulted basement is reached through the entrance in the stair-tower. On the first floor is the hall, which has panelled walls, and a large carved fireplace, 2.7 metres wide.
The second floor ceiling is decorated in tempera; this dates from 1620. The decoration includes paintings of an ostrich and an armadillo, and mottoes such as “A NICE WYF AND A BACK DOORE OFT MAKETH A RICH MAN POORE”. The ceiling was carefully taken down and the missing parts replaced during the restoration by Lorimer.
The main block, with a slightly higher wing, occupies two sides of the courtyard; there is a separate tower with three storey, the lower two vaulted, and some buildings dated to the 17th century. The courtyard is entered through an archway, dated 1546, bearing the arms of Sir William Bruce.
There is a formal garden, replanted since the restoration of 1892. It has yew hedges and topiary.
As of 2019, the castle was a private residence with ten bedrooms and eight reception rooms, including the Long Galley with a famous painted ceiling, restored by Sir Robert Lorimer.References:
The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.
According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.
In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.
The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.
The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.
In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.
The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.