Dundas Castle is a 15th-century castle, with substantial 19th-century additions by William Burn, in the Dalmeny parish of West Lothian. The home of the Dundas family since the Middle Ages, it was sold in the late 19th century and is currently the residence of politician and businessman Sir Jack Stewart-Clark.

In the 11th century, the lands of Dundas, along with other land in Lothian, were granted by King Malcolm Canmore to Gospatrick, the earl of Northumbria, who had come north to escape William the Conqueror. The lands of Dundas passed to his great-grandson Waldeve, who granted them to his kinsman Helias in a charter dating from around 1180. Helias took his surname from his lands, becoming the first of the Dundas family. The Dundases and their cadets would later come to own much of Mid and West Lothian.

In 1416, James Dundas obtained a licence from the Duke of Albany (then the effective ruler of Scotland) to build a keep. This keep was extended in 1436, making it into an L-plan. The Keep served both as a home in times of peace and a fortress in times of war.

Oliver Cromwell is known to have stayed at Dundas Castle around the time of the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. A statue of him remains standing outside the Keep.

In 1818, James Dundas had the 17th century portion of the building pulled down and rebuilt in a Tudor-Gothic style by the renowned architect William Burn. Burn also designed many churches and this influence is visible throughout the building. Burn's designs for the main state rooms allow for huge windows that look out on to lawns and parkland outside.

The building and extensive gardens had cost so much to construct that the Dundases were forced to sell the castle and lands in 1875. The buyer was William Russell. It was again sold in 1899, when it was bought along with five farms and 1,500 acres of agricultural land by Stewart Clark, the owner of a Renfrewshire textile company and a respected philanthropist. Clark's son, John, took the double-barrelled surname 'Stewart-Clark' in honour of his father, and he was made a Baronet in 1918.

During the Second World War, Dundas Castle served as the headquarters for protecting the Forth Bridge. Since 1995, the castle's owner has been Sir Jack Stewart-Clark, the great-grandson of Stewart Clark. Stewart-Clark was a Member of the European Parliament between 1979 and 1999.



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Dalmeny, United Kingdom
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Founded: 15th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Vic Dobbie (2 months ago)
Was there for my granddaughter wedding and everything was just wonderful loved everything about it,the staff did everything for you and nothing was to much trouble,
K Alexi (3 months ago)
Beautiful location and setting let down by pretentious, snooty staff. Castle venues in Scotland are not rare, yet they are priced as if they are. 'The Pavilion' is nothing more than a glorified marquee, and a tired looking and shabby marquee at that. Shop around, for the money this place charges you can have your pick of any venue in Scotland.
Robert Clelland (Rab) (7 months ago)
One of the places we stopped today. Duncan Castle. Unfortunately it no opened. Or to the public. Not sure which. It had lots of gee gees. Horses. Lovely place for a walk, even a slow drive through. Some places you can't get into just now. The castle looks lovely. Wouldn't mind going in to see it. There is also a golf course very near by.
Marion MacLennan (7 months ago)
beautiful setting everything you could wish for
Ian Smith (2 years ago)
We were shown around the castle by Louise, GM, with a view to having our wedding there for about 100. The tour and discussion were very professional. It's such a lovely venue, with an ancient keep with vue of the Forth bridges, plenty of places for photos, places for dancing and places for relaxing. We noted her exceptional attention to detail and obvious experience in orchestrating the day. They were willing to be flexible and offered a number of options, sharing their past experiences of the pros and cons of each approach. We felt we could have a relaxed day there and our needs met.
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Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.