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The Building and other Works of Patrick, 1st Earl of Strathmore at Glamis, 1671–1695

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 April 2011


The Glamis Book of Record, compiled by Patrick 1st Earl of Strathmore between the years 1685 and 1689, contains, in addition to more mundane material, the Earl's autobiography. This, combined with other documents preserved in the charter room at Glamis, provides a remarkably detailed account of the Earl's building and other works at Glamis between the years 1671 and 1689, a short but crucial period in the long history of the castle.

In 1671 the castle, then little more than an empty shell, consisted of a massive tower-house, with additions and alterations mostly dating to the first few years of the century, attached to an east wing of earlier date. The single access crossed an encircling ditch and reached the entrance through a walled courtyard containing a miscellaneous collection of buildings, some possibly a good deal older than the castle itself.

The Earl, who was his own architect, began by drawing up a scheme for all his proposed improvements, which he then executed in stages over the years as circumstances allowed. The existing approach was replaced by an avenue with a series of ornamented gateways. The buildings in front of the castle were cleared away and replaced by an inner and outer courtyard with gardens and a bowling green, while necessary outbuildings were sited in a separate courtyard at the back of the castle. The existing east wing was matched by a new west wing to provide a symmetrical façade and the available accommodation increased by an addition to the east wing and extensions to the back of the tower-house, including a rectangular stair tower and three storeys of rooms with a chapel on the topmost floor.

Although the principal building works were carried out by local masons underthe Earl's instruction, the interior was decorated where appropriate by immigrant craftsmen of high standing. Thus, by the time the Earl died in 1695, he had converted a largely derelict, haphazard assemblage of buildings into a well-planned and seemly mansion environed with gardens and wholly appropriate to a Scottish gentleman of the period.

Research Article
Copyright © The Society of Antiquaries of London 1986

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1 Millar, A. H. (ed.), The Book of Record, Scottish History Society (1890).Google Scholar Quotations from this volume are not individually noted, but for Glamis see pp. 37-46 and index.

2 NRA 0885/131/108/13/MRA 2 and 3 (i.e. Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, National Register of Archives Scotland, Ref. NRA (Scot) 0885, Earl of Strathmore Muniments, p. 131, Glamis charter room Box 108, Bundle 13, MRA transcripts nos. 2 and 3).

3 ‘A Plan of die Mains of Glammis’, Winter, Thomas, 1746:Google Scholar NRA 0885/43.

4 NRA 0885/256/2.

5 McGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland, i(Edinburgh, 1887))Google Scholar date the old kitchen on the ground floor in the east wing to the seventeenth century, but the external appearance of the wing (albeit much altered), including the inverted key-hole gunports in the projecting round tower, suggests a much earlier period. The Earl's new kitchen was in his west wing (ground floor).

6 Although nothing survives above ground, Dr Aspinall's geophysical survey records the survival of pre-existing structures below the lawns. See Appendix B.

7 NRA 0885/167/148/1/MRA 7.

8 NRA 0885/131/108/13/MRA 1.

9 NRA 0885/37/56/2/MRA 1.

10 NRA 0885/167/148/1/MRA 5.

11 NRA 0885/167/148/1/MRA 10.

12 NRA 0885/167/148/1/MRA 9.

13 Box 256/1.

14 NRA 0885/37/56/2/MRA 5.

15 NRA 0885/37/56/2/MRA 4.

16 NRA 0885/38/56/2/MRA 2.

17 NRA 0885/37/56/2/MRA 3 and 6.

18 NRA 0885/36/56/2/MRA 7.

19 NRA 0885/167/148/1/MRA 6.

20 Box 256/1, transcribed Record, xxxv.

21 Box 257/12. See also transcriptions in Recordand D.Breeze, ‘The de Wet paintings in the chapel at Glamis Castle’, Apted, M. R. and Snowden, R. L., Studies in ScottishAntiquity (Edinburgh, 1884)Google Scholar.

22 NRA 0885/167/148/1/MRA 1.

23 NRA 0885/159/141/1.

24 NRA 0885/208/191/1.

25 Glamis Box 256/2.

26 NRA 0885/256/2.

27 National Library of Scotland MS 4796/48, fo.

28 NRA 0885/44/61/6. See also ‘Arnold Quellin's statues at Glamis Castle’, Antiq. J. lxiv (1984), 5561Google Scholar.

29 Defoe, D., A Tour thro' the WholeIsland of Great Britain, iii (1827Google Scholar edn.). Note that descriptions of the castle vary from one edition to another.

30 Glamis charter room. Patrick Proctor's Account as Clerk of the Works from 1st July 1771 to 7th March 1776. Ref. 22A.

31 NRA 0885/131/108/13/MRA 1.

32 NRA 0885/131/108/13/MRA 2.

33 NRA 0885/131/108/13/MRA 4.

34 NRA 0885/167/148/1/MRA 8.

35 New Statistical Account of Scotland, xi (Edinburgh, 1845), 348.Google Scholar

36 Glamis Box 256/1.