Duntarvie Castle is a ruined Scots Renaissance house in West Lothian. The lands of Duntarvie were in possession of the Lindsays from 1527. A charter of 1605 transferred the property from the Lindsays to the Hamiltons of Abercorn, and this 1605 charter infers the existence of the castle as early as 1212. The Durham family held Duntarvie as tenants of the Hamiltons, although according to Historic Environment Scotland, Duntarvie was granted to James Durham in 1588, who had the building constructed shortly afterward.

Alexander Durham (died 1584) held royal appointments including as a clerk in the Exchequer, the administrator of John Stewart of Coldingham, and Master of the Prince's Wardrobe to King James VI. Alexander's son James took over his father's offices in 1580, and served as Chamberlain for Linlithgowshire between 1595 and 1600. James witnessed several royal charters made by King James at Holyroodhouse. The Durham family left Duntarvie in the 1770s.

By 1826 the house was in the ownership of the Earl of Hopetoun, and in need of urgent repair. It was uninhabited from the 1840s, and by the 20th century it was ruinous and roofless.

In the late 20th century the shell was purchased by kiltmaker Geoffrey Nicholsby, with the intention of restoring it as a headquarters of his business Highland Crafts Ltd. Preparatory work began in 1994, but part of the east tower collapsed in January 1995. Work continued in the Great hall of the castle with the aim to opening this part of the building up to couples who wish to get married within the castle building.

The house comprises a long, rectangular three-storey main block, with square four-storey towers projecting northwards at the ends. Each of these towers had a flat roof with a stone balustrade, and is flanked by a turnpike stair housed in a turret in the internal angle. The ground floor and first floor are linked by a straight stair, unusual for its date.



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Founded: 16th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Brian Henderson (6 months ago)
Stunning bits of old castle
Janis Crawford (12 months ago)
Fantastic venue
Johnny Nugent (12 months ago)
Lovely venue
John Isaacs (2 years ago)
Very impressive and when the restoration of the castle is finished it will be even more so .
Alan Tomkins (2 years ago)
We are looking for somewhere to hold our Daughters wedding in October and Duntarvie Castle looked really lovely. We went for a tour and Tricia was amazing. She went through all the options including one for holding the wedding outside. We were very impressed and will be taking our Daughter back there in a few weeks.
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Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".