The building of Hultaby Castle was begun in the second half of the 13th century and it was inhabited in the middle of the 14th century by the Swedish councillor of the realm and earl of the Orkney Islands, Erengisle Sunesson (Bååt).
Together with the castle itself, which is 28 by 32 metres, the castle area consists of a group of 10 building foundations, which lie in an L-formation on the southern and eastern sides of the castle. There used to be an additional fifteen or so buildings spread out outside the castle area. The upper part of the castle, which consisted of a great room, two minor rooms and a tower, and the surrounding buildings, were of timber.
The castle is thought to have been burnt by Count Henrik of Holstein (known as “Järn Henrik”, Iron Henrik), the bailiff of King Albrecht, during the 1360s, at which time there was civil strife between the rival Swedish kings Magnus Eriksson and Albrecht of Mecklenburg.
The area around the old ruins shows many traces of the old cultivated landscape. Apart from the mounds of stones left by the farming of times past, there also remain plants that are favoured by hay making and grazing, such as leopard’s bane, greater yellow-rattle and common milkwort.References:
Sweetheart Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1275 by Dervorguilla of Galloway in memory of her husband John de Balliol. His embalmed heart, in a casket of ivory and silver, was buried alongside her when she died; the monks at the Abbey then renamed the Abbey in tribute to her. Their son, also John, became king of Scotland but his reign was tragic and short. The depredations suffered by the Abbey in subsequent periods, have caused both the graves to be lost. The abbey, built in deep-red, local sandstone, was founded as a daughter house to Dundrennan Abbey; this Novum Monasterium (New Monastery), became known as the New Abbey.
The immediate abbey precincts extended to 120,000 m2 and sections of the surrounding wall can still be seen today. The Cistercian order, also known as the White Monks because of the white habit, over which they wore a black scapular or apron, built many great abbeys after their establishment around 1100. Like many of their abbeys, the New Abbey's interests lay not only in prayer and contemplation but in the farming and commercial activity of the area, making it the centre of local life. The abbey ruins dominate the skyline today and one can only imagine how it and the monks would have dominated early medieval life as farmers, agriculturalists, horse and cattle breeders. Surrounded by rich and fertile grazing and arable land, they became increasingly expert and systematic in their farming and breeding methods. Like all Cistercian abbeys, they made their mark, not only on the religious life of the district but on the ways of local farmers and influenced agriculture in the surrounding areas.
The village which stands next to the ruins today, is now known as New Abbey. At the other end of the main street is Monksmill, a corn mill. Although the present buildings date from the late eighteenth century, there was an earlier mill built by and for the monks of the abbey which serviced the surrounding farms.