Elst castle ruins in Duffel is one of the oldest buildings in the province of Antwerp. The oldest reference dates from the 12th century. At that time castle was owned by the brothers Hildincshusen. From 1356 until the French Revolution in 1789 the castle was owned by the Tongerlo Abbey and was inhabited by the steward. It was also used as a residence for the nobility. In 1584 the castle burned down and was then rebuilt. In the late 16th century it was a vicarage.
According to 17th- and 18th-century drawings Elst castle was a large building surrounded by moat and gardens. In 1799 the castle was sold to Louis Hermans showed demolish three of the four main buildings of the complex and restored the wing part with the towers. During the First World War the castle was badly damaged.References:
Craigmillar is one of Scotland’s most perfectly preserved castles. It began as a simple tower-house residence. Gradually, over time, it developed into a complex of structures and spaces, as subsequent owners attempted to improve its comfort and amenity. As a result, there are many nooks and crannies to explore.
The surrounding gardens and parkland were also important. The present-day Craigmillar Castle Park has fascinating reminders of the castle’s days as a rural retreat on the edge of Scotland’s capital city.
At the core lies the original, late-14th-century tower house, among the first of this form of castle built in Scotland. It stands 17m high to the battlements, has walls almost 3m thick, and holds a warren of rooms, including a fine great hall on the first floor.
‘Queen Mary’s Room’, also on the first floor, is where Mary is said to have slept when staying at Craigmillar. However, it is more likely she occupied a multi-roomed apartment elsewhere in the courtyard, probably in the east range.
Sir Simon Preston was a loyal supporter of Queen Mary, whom she appointed as Provost of Edinburgh. In this capacity, he was her host for her first night as a prisoner, at his townhouse in the High Street, on 15 June 1567. She was taken to Lochleven Castle the following day.
The west range was rebuilt after 1660 as a family residence for the Gilmour family.
The 15th-century courtyard wall is well preserved, complete with gunholes shaped like inverted keyholes. Ancillary buildings lie within it, including a private family chapel.