Fordell Castle is a restored 16th-century tower house. The earliest charter in the Henderson of Fordell papers dates from 1217.
It is not known when the original castle structure was constructed, but the main entrance tower is believed to date from the 1400s. James Henderson, 3rd of Fordell, started to extend the castle in 1566. In 1568 the castle was damaged by fire, then rebuilt. Evidence of the fire can be seen to the left of the main entrance tower.
Sir John Henderson rebuilt St Theriot's Chapel in 1650 for use as a family mausoleum. The castle was damaged by Oliver Cromwell's army troops garrisoned at the castle in 1651.
In the 19th century, Fordell Castle was rarely occupied; the main hall is said to have been converted into a stable for a time. George Mercer-Henderson modernized the castle and installed the gates. The north front was rebuilt in 1855 (designed by Robert Hay).
Author James Henderson CBE (no relation), purchased the estate in 1953. He restored the castle to a good standard and it was inhabited for the first time since 1726. In 2007, Fordell Castle was sold for £3,850,000 to Stuart Simpson, the 17th Baron of Fordell, making it the fifth-highest-priced home ever sold in Scotland. The Castle remains a private residence.
The castle is a fortified house (fortalice) designed on a Z-plan running east-west, with square towers at the north-west and south-east corners, each containing a circular staircase. Fordell Castle is the only example of a tower house with two main stairs, each with its own door to the outside. The entrance is at the foot of the north stair tower and is through a studded door with a metal grate (yett) behind. It gives access to a vestibule. Stairs lead down to three vaulted basement chambers.The western chamber included stocks and branks, but the room has since been converted to a wine cellar. A rogue's collar or jougs hangs near the front entrance to the castle.References:
The St Sophia's Cathedral was built between 1045-1050 inside the Novgorod Kremlin (fortress). It is one of the earliest stone structures of northern Russia. Its height is 38 m. Originally it was taller, for during the past nine centuries the lower part of the building became concealed by the two-metre thick cultural layer. The cathedral was built by Prince Vladimir, the son of Yaroslav the Wise, and until the 1130s this principal church of the city also served as the sepulchre of Novgorodian princes. For the Novgorodians, St Sophia became synonymous with their town, the symbol of civic power and independence.
The five-domed church looks simpler but no less impressive than its prototype, the thirteen-domed St Sophia of Kiev. The cathedral exterior is striking in its majesty and epic splendour evoking the memories of Novgorod's glorious past and invincible might. In the 11th century it looked more imposing than now. Its facade represented a gigantic mosaic of huge, coarsely trimmed irregular slabs of flagstone and shell rock. In some places (particularly on the apses), the wall was covered with mortar, smoothly polished, drawn up to imitate courses of brick or of whitestone slabs, and slightly coloured. As a result, the facade was not white, as it is today, but multicoloured. The play of stone, decorative painting and the building materials of various texture enhanced the impression of austere simplicity and introduced a picturesque effect.
The two-storied galleries extend along the building's southern, western and northern sides, with a stair-tower constructed at the north-eastern corner. The cathedral has three entrances - the southern, western and northern, of which the western was the main one intended for ceremonial processions. A gate standing at the entrance is known as the Sigtuna Gate (mid-12th century); according to legend, it was brought from the Swedish town of Sigtuna in 1187. The second name of the gate derives from the town of Magdeburg, where it was made. The two leaves are decorated with biblical and evangelical scenes in cast bronze relief. In the lower left corner there are portraits of the craftsmen who created this superb specimen of medieval Western European bronze-work. An inscription in Latin gives their names, Riquin and Weissmut. The small central figure - judging from an inscription in Slavonic - is a representation of the Russian master craftsman Avraam, who assembled the gate.
There is yet another bronze gate in the cathedral, called the Korsun Gate. Made in the 11th century in Chersonesos, Byzantium, it leads from the southern gallery into the Nativity Side-Chapel. Legend has it that the gate was handed over to Novgorod as a gift of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (c. 978 - 1054).
The interior of the cathedral is as majestic as its exterior. It is divided by huge piers into five aisles, three of which end in altar apses. In the south-western corner, inside the tower, there is a wide spiral in relatively small, modest buildings of the 12th - 16th centuries.