Dingwall Castle is believed to have been established by Norse settlers in the area in the 11th century. During the Wars of Scottish Independence the castle was garrisoned by the forces of king Edward I of England. However it was later captured by Scottish forces for king Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce) led by Uilleam II, Earl of Ross.
From the castle, the Earl of Ross (chief of Clan Ross) led the men of Ross to fight against the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. As a reward in 1321 King Robert granted Dingwall Castle with the town and lands of Dingwall to the Earl of Ross.
In 1370 a feud arose between William de Moravia, 5th Earl of Sutherland (chief of Clan Sutherland) and Aodh Mackay (chief of Clan Mackay). A meeting was arranged for them to meet at Dingwall Castle to resolve their issues. However Aodh Mackay and his son Donald Mackay were both murdered in the castle while they were asleep by Nicholas Sutherland, brother of the Earl of Sutherland.
In 1411 Domhnall of Islay, Lord of the Isles (chief of Clan Donald) captured Dingwall Castle as part of his attempt to seize the title of the Earldom of Ross. This took place shortly before the Battle of Harlaw. In 1438 the next successive Clan Donald chief, Alexander of Islay, Earl of Ross was officially recognised as the Earl of Ross and took up his residence at Dingwall Castle. His son, John of Islay, Earl of Ross was not as successful; the Earldom of Ross was confiscated from him and the castle became a royal possession once more in 1475. John Munro, 11th Baron of Foulis was then made governor of the castle, who in turn was succeeded by Andrew Munro, 2nd of Milntown. The next governor in 1488 was Sir James Dunbar.
In 1507 Andrew Stewart, Bishop of Caithness carried out improvements after the castle had been assaulted by the MacDonalds and Mackenzies. The Crown abandoned Dingwall Castle in about 1600 and it eventually fell into a ruin. The castle ceased to be maintained after the death of king James VI of Scotland in 1625. It was used as a quarry until 1817 when it was finally levelled and only a few fragments remain.
A tunnel still exists that runs from the site of Dingwall Castle to the basement of nearby Tulloch Castle. The tunnel has now collapsed, but it is possible to view this passageway through an air vent on the front lawn of Tulloch Castle's grounds.References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.