Duivenvoorde Castle was first mentioned in 1226, making it one of the oldest castles in South Holland. The castle is remarkable in that it has never been sold, which can be said of very few Dutch castles. It has passed by inheritance through several noble houses, sometimes through the matrilineal line. For the first five centuries of its history, the castle was owned by one family, the van Duivenvoordes, who gave their name to it. Although thus named, the van Duvenvoirdes properly formed part of the House of Wassenaer, an ancient noble family which has played an important role in Dutch history. Towards the end of the 17th century an owner of Duivenvoorde Castle, Johan van Duvenvoirde, readopted the name of van Wassenaer. Therefore, although the same family remained in the House, this was under a different name.
The last private owner of the castle was Jonkvrouwe Ludolphine Henriette, Baroness Schimmelpenninck van der Oye (1891-1965). Knowing that with her death the house would be sold and the furniture dispersed, including the collections of portraits, porcelain and clothing and textiles, she decided to close the house and leave it in the care of a foundation for restoration. The stated aim was to restore the castle to its appearance in 1717, although in practice this has not always been possible. The terrace constructed around 1844 has been kept, and the opening of previously sealed windows to allow more light into the living room has taken away some symmetry. The interior has been redecorated to match the colours of 1717, and later piecemeal work on the ceilings has been left in place. Today Duivenvoorde is a musem.
In 1717, two Roman stones were installed as plaques in the front hall. The larger of the two stones, dated between 196 and 198 AD, has an inscription on the front about the repair of an armory by Roman troops; the text on the other side is older, dating from somewhere between 103 and 111 AD. In the making of the newer text, the stone was made smaller, damaging the older text. The smaller stone has a text which, through knowledge of the people named there in, can date the stone to around 205 AD.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.