The Lost Fort

My Travel and History Blog, Focussing mostly on Roman and Mediaeval Times


18 Dec 2016
  Dowager Queens, Skirmishes, and a Bonnie Prince - The History of Doune Castle, Part 2

Doune Castle had been the favorite residence of the Duke of Albany since 1401 at latest - he wrote letters dating from Doune Castle regularly since 1401 - as well as his son Murdoch and Murdoch's wife Isabella. The place was already a fitting abode for a duke, but it was not yet complete in the 1420ies.

After the execution of the Albany Stewarts, the importance of Doune Castle declined. It became a hunting lodge while the main seat of the Stewart kings was the nearby Stirling Castle. That is the likely reason why the castle was never completed - some windows in the southern curtain wall point at intended buildings along that wall.

Window openings in the southern curtain wall

After King James I was murdered in Feburary 1437, Isabella Stewart regained most of her titles and estates, though Doune Castle remained a royal possession and the title of the Duke of Albany was later given to a son of King James II as second creation.

The death of James I left Scotland with an underage king (James II was six when his father was assassinated) and a regency again. Queen Joanna, who was wounded in the fray but escaped the murder of her husband, was more or less kept prisoner at Stirling Castle. But when he came to adulthood, James II would deal with the power greedy men who made his childhood a misery, first among them the Douglas earls. He personally killed William 8th Earl of Douglas (Feburary 1452)

The Duchess' Chamber

James II married Mary of Guelders in 1449. He died in August 1460 during the siege of Roxburgh Castle (which was still held by the English) when a cannon exploded near him. Unfortunately, James III (* 1451) was underage as well. But Mary of Guelders proved a strong woman and partook in the regency, together with Bishop James Kennedy. Doune Castle was her dower house which she visited several times.

In England, the War of the Roses was in full fray. Mary supported the Lancastrians and gave King Henry VI and his wife Margaret of Anjou shelter when they fled to Scotland after the Battle of Towton (March 1461). But their relationship detoriated when Duke Philippe of Burgundy, Mary's great-uncle, allied himself with the Yorkist king Edward IV. Margaret went to France to seek aid there, while King Henry was hiding out in Northumberland (where he got captured in 1465).

Mary of Guelders died in December 1963, her son James III died in the battle of Sauchieburn in June 1488 against a rebel army led by his own son. His wife, Margaret of Denmark, had received Doune Castle as dower house, but she died two years before her husband.

The Great Hall

James IV married Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII, first of the Tudor dynasty on the English throne. James died at the disastrous Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. Margaret survived her husband for 28 years, again receiving Doune Castle as dower house. And again the Stewart king was too young to rule - James V was born only a bit more than a year before his father's death. The usual dance of regents ensued.

Margaret remarried Archibald Douglas 6th Earl of Angus (1514), who acted as one of the regents for the king, but they had a falling out and got divorced in 1527 (James V had meanwhile become king in his own right). Margaret then married Henry Stewart 1st Lord Methven, a descandant of Murdoch of Albany. His brother became James Stewart 1st Lord of Doune. James's son, another James, would become Lord of Doune and Earl of Moray by his wife in 1570. Thus Doune Castle came into possession of the Moray earls who held it until the 20th century.

Margaret Tudor died in 1541, King James V in 1542. Again, he left behind a child, and a daughter to boot: Mary Queen of Scots (* 1542).

Minstrel's gallery in the great hall

Doune Castle obviously was not in best repair in the 1520ies, since its then keeper, William Edmonstoun, wrote to the dowager Queen Margaret that the castle could house her and her gentlewomen, but not the rest of her attendants. She interpreted that as refusal to fulfill his duties, and upon marriage to Henry Stewart installed James Stewart as keeper (see above).

The castle seems to have been in good enough repair for Mary Queen of Scots (reigned 1442-1567, executed 1587) to stay there several times; she occupied the suite of rooms in the kitchen tower. I won't go into details about that interesting and unfortunate woman in this post, though.

After Mary was imprisoned in England, Doune was held by the 2nd Lord Doune for the queen in 1570, but he eventually surrendered to the regent, the Earl of Lennox. The castle and its pleasant surroundings attracted the interest of the young King James VI who in 1581 spent the considerable sum of £ 300 on repairs and improvements. But when he became King of England as well in 1603, he left Scotland and royal interest in Doune Castle ceased.

Four-light dais window in the great hall

Doune was never involved in a major military expedition, but its proximity to the more important Stirling Castle brought it into the focus of action nevertheless. During the civil war, Doune was held by the Royalist James Graham Marquess of Montrose before the battle of Kilsyth (August 1645), but after the royal army lost at Philipphaugh a month later, Montrose had to flee into exile. Another skirmish took place near the castle in 1654 when the Royalists under Sir Mungo Murray fought some Covenanter troops during the so-called Glencairn Rising which ended in a peace treaty, the Act of Pardon and Grace.

Doune was back on the royal side during the Jacobite Risings of 1715 and 1745. The castle was held by a MacGregor of Glengyle for Prince Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. It was used as prison after the victory of Falkirk in early 1746 when some 150 government 'redcoats' were held prisoner in the castle. Six of them managed to excape from the chamber above the kitchen by knotting bedsheets together and climbing out of a window. More men would have gone that way had not the sheets ruptured. Those redcoats were lucky that Doune has no nasty, damp and dark dungeon. :-)

Curtain walls

Afterwards, the castle was no longer used and deteriorated. By 1800 it was a ruin without roofs. It was George Stuart, 14th Earl of Moray, who commissioned repair works in the 1850ies. The timber roofs were replaced and the wooden panelling in the Lord's Hall added, among other repairs and restorations. I could not find out whether any of the Moray earls ever used the castle since then.

It was given to the care of Historic Scotland by the 20th earl in 1984. Doune Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument catergory A and open to the public (when there is no filming going on).

Literature
Doreen Grove: Doune Castle; guidebook by Historic Scotland, Edinburgh 2007

 
Comments:
Gosh you managed to get an awful lot of history in that one post! Margaret Tudor seems to have led a fascinating and difficult life.
 
Oh yes, the Tudors and their many marriages. Until Elisabeth made up for it and never married at all. :-)
 
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The Lost Fort is a travel and history blog based on my journeys in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and central / eastern Europe. It includes virtual town and castle tours with a focus on history, museum visits, hiking tours, and essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, illustrated with my own photos.


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I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who still hasn't got an Instagram account.
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King David and the Civil War, Part 2

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Alexander of Argyll
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Riga
The History of Mediaeval Riga

Tallinn
The History of Mediaeval Tallinn


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Troublesome Cousins - Jogaila and Vytautas

The Northern Crusades

The Wars in Lithuania
The Siege of Vilnius 1390


Poland

Royal Dynasties

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The Conquest of Pomerania / Prussia
The Conquest of Danzig


Bohemia

Royal Dynasties

The Bohemian Kings of House Luxembourg
King Sigismund and the Hussite Wars


Roman History

The Romans at War

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The German Limes
The Cavalry Fort Aalen
Limes Fort Osterburken
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The Hadrian's Wall
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Border Life
Exercise Halls
Mile Castles and Watch Towers
Soldiers' Living Quarters
Cavalry Barracks

Campaigns and Battles

Maps
The Romans in Germania

The Pre-Varus Invasion in Germania
Roman Camp Hedemünden
New Finds in 2008

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Museum Park at Kalkriese

The Battle at the Harzhorn
Introduction

The Batavian Rebellion
A Short Introduction

Miscellaneous Events

The Legend of Alaric's Burial

Roman Militaria

Armour
Early Imperial Helmets
Late Roman Helmets
The Negau B Helmet

Weapons
Weapon Finds at Hedemünden
The pilum
Daggers
Swords

Other Equipment
Roman Saddles


Roman Life and Religion

Religion and Public Life

Religion
Curse Tablets and Good Luck Charms
Isis Worship
Memorial Stones
The Mithras Cult

Public Life
Roman Transport: Barges
Roman Transport: Amphorae and Barrels
Roman Water Supply

Architecture
Roman Public Baths

Domestic Life

Roman villae
Villa Urbana Longuich
Villa Rustica Wachenheim

Everyday Life
Bathing Habits
Children's Toys
Face Pots


Other Times

Neolithicum to Iron Age

Germany

Development of Civilisation
European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
The Hutewald Project in the Solling
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

Neolithic Remains
Stone Burials of the Funnelbeaker Culture
The Necropolis of Oldendorf

Bronze Age / Iron Age
The Nydam Ship

Scotland

Neolithic Orkney
The Neolithic Landscape of Orkney
Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae
Life in Skara Brae

Bronze Age / Iron Age
Clava Cairns
The Brochs of Gurness and Midhowe - Their Function in Iron Age Society

Scandinavia

Bronze / Iron Age
The Ship Setting of Gnisvärd / Gotland


Post-Mediaeval History

Explorers and Discoveries

Explorers
Fram Expedition to the North Pole
Fram Expedition to the South Pole

Discoveries
Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg Hemispheres
Raising a Wreck, Now and Then (Vasa Museum in Stockholm)


Miscellanea

History in Literature and Music

History and Literature

The Weimar Classicism
The Weimar Classicism - Introduction

Theodor Fontane
Short Biography of Theodor Fontane
Fontane Ballads, translated by me
Archibald Douglas
Gorm Grymme
Sir Walter Scott in Abbotsford
The Tragedy of Afghanistan

History in Opera

Belcanto and Historicism
Maria Padilla - Mistress Royal
The Siege of Calais in Donizetti's Opera

Not so Serious History

Romans
Building Hadrian's Wall
Playmobil Romans

Mediaeval Times
Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

Other
Rules for Writing Scottish Romances


Geology

Geological Landscapes

The Baltic Sea
Geology of the Curonian Spit
Chalk Cliffs on Rugia
Flint Fields on Rugia

The Harz
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
The 'Hübichenstein' Rock
Karst Formations in the Southern Harz
The Lonau Falls
The Rhume Springs
Sandstone Formations: Daneil's Cave
Sandstone Formations: Devil's Wall
Sandstone Formations: The Klus Rock

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations
Salt Springs at the Werra

Solling-Vogler
Raised Bog Mecklenbruch
Hannover Cliffs

The Shores of Scotland
Staffa

Fossils and Other Odd Rocks

Fossilized Ammonites
The Loket Meteorite


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