Huntingtower: guidebooks

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Huntingtower © David Gill

Huntingtower, near Perth, was placed in State Guardianship in 1912. James S. Richardson prepared the first guidebook in 1931. A second edition appeared in 1950 and continued in print into the 1970s. The blue guide uses a detail from the ceiling inside the castle. Richardson’s guide starts with historical notes (pp. 1–5), followed by a description (pp. 6–9). Black and white photographs, as well as floor plans appear in the centre of the guide. He comments:

Viewed from any point, Huntingtower presents a picturesque appearance; the broken line of walling, the corbelled parapets with their subdued corner rounds and the corbie-stepped gables give the visitor an impression of a Scottish fortified-house of the 16th century, divested of its outer defensive works, garden and orchard.

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1st ed. 1931; 2nd ed. 1950 (4th impress. 1972)

A third edition of Richardson’s guide was published in 1982. Historical notes have been replaced by history, and description by descriptive tour. Photographs and plans are incorporated in the text.

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1982, 3rd edition

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HMSO 1989 (Historic Scotland 1996, 2001)

Richardson’s guide was replaced in 1989 by a new guide by Denys Pringle. There are two main sections: the story of Huntingtower, and the architecture of Huntingtower. The centre pages provide a short tour of the castle. Floor plans are printed inside the back cover.

Glasgow Cathedral: guidebook

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1970

The cathedral church of St Kentigern is named after a 7th century saint. There is likely to have been a monastic site in the vicinity of the later cathedral. The cathedral itself was consecrated in 1197. It was rebuilt in the 13th and 14th centuries.

The guidebook was prepared by C.A. Ralegh Radford and contains a history (pp. 7–25) and a description (pp. 26–42). There is a foldout plan of the cathedral inside the back cover showing the layout of the altars. A series of black and white images appear in the centre of the guide.

Dirleton Castle: guidebooks

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Dirleton Castle © David Gill

J.S. Richardson prepared the first guidebook for Dirleton Castle 1934. A second edition appeared in 1950, and this continued as a blue guide into the 1970s. This consisted of a histroy: Lands of the Barony; the De Vaux Family; the castle during the Wars of Independence; the Halyburtons; the Ruthvens; the raid of Ruthven; the Gowrie Conspiracy; Ruthven building; furnishings and gardens; the Dirleton witches; Cromwell and the Moss-troopers. This was followed by a description. A foldout plan and sections were placed inside the back cover.

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1934 (2nd ed. 1950; 7th impress. 1973)

Chris Tabraham revised Richardson’s guidebook in 1982. A new guidebook, by Tabraham, was published in 1995. This consists of two main sections: Guided Tour and History.

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1995 (rev. ed. 2007)

Leading Visitor Attractions 2018: National Trust for Scotland

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Broughton House © David Gill

The details of the Leading Visitor Attractions for 2018 are now available.  The National Trust for Scotland locations are:

  • Glenfinnan [89]: 385,352 [-2.8%]. 2017: 396,448 [+57.8%]
  • Culzean Castle & Country Park [91]: 382,608 [+56.2%]. 2017: 244,930 [+11.6%]
  • Burns Birthplace Museum [122]: 266,36  [+62.1%]. 2017: 164,316 [+1.2%]
  • Brodie Castle [124]: 256,666 [+21.8%]
  • Glencoe [142]: 213,343 [+29.1%]
  • Culloden [143]: 213,343 [+10.9%]. 2017: 180,875 [+27.6%]
  • Crathes Castle [173]: 127,695 [+4.8%]. 2017: 121,841 [+23.7%]
  • Threave Castle [186]: 96,357 [+1.5%]
  • Inverewe Gardens [192]: 80,913 [-57.8%]. 2017: 191,951 [+109.6%]
  • Newhailes [199] 68,360 [+1168.7%]
  • Pollok House [205]: 57,172 [+5.1%]
  • Fyvie Castle [207]: 56,158 [-0.2%]
  • Drum Castle [208]: 50,421 [+8.3%]. 2017: 46,574 [-3%]
  • Falkland Palace [211]: 46,475 [-8.4%]. 2017: 50,726 [+15.1%]
  • Bannockburn [212]: 45,208 [-18.3%]. 2017: 55,347 [+7.9%]
  • Pitmedden Garden [213]: 41,694 [-3.1%]. 2017: 43,045 [+17.9%]
  • Brodick Castle & Country Park [216]: 39,708 [-10.4%]. 2017: 44,361 [-38.1%]
  • Georgian House [222]: 33,450 [-11.3%]
  • Ben Lawers Visitor Centre [229]: 24,728 [-12.3%]
  • Culross Palace [230]: 24,445 [+52.6%]
  • Craigievar Castle [232]: 19,702 [+15.6%]
  • Leith Hall [233]: 19,332 [-1.8%]
  • Tenement House [237]: 17,053 [-5.3%]
  • Kellie Castle [238]: 17,003 [+5.8%]
  • Broughton House & Garden [239]: 16,843 [+8.2%]
  • Greenbank Garden [240]: 16,327 [+2.4%]
  • Hill House [243]: 12,150 [-57.4%]. 2017: 28,518 [+6.2%]
  • Geilston Garden [244]: 12,110 [+17%]
  • Gladstones Land [245]: 11,670 [-3.2%]. 2017: 12,061 [-44.7%]

There is wider coverage of NTS in the ALVA figures for 2018. Bannockburn’s visitor numbers are a surprise given the increase in HES numbers for Stirling Castle.

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Glenfinnan © David Gill

Leading Visitor Attractions 2018: Historic Environment Scotland

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Linlithgow Palace © David Gill

The figures for the Leading Visitor Attractions 2018 are now available. There are a number of sites in the care of Historic Environment Scotland:

  • Edinburgh Castle [12]: 2,111,578 [+2%]. 2017: 2,063,709 [+16%]
  • Stirling Castle [63]: 605,241 [+7%]. 2017: 567,259 [+18%]
  • Urquhart Castle [69]: 518,195 [+6%]. 2017: 488,136 [+23%]
  • Glasgow Cathedral [75]: 482,783 [+24%]. 2017: 389,101 [+36%]
  • Doune Castle [170]: 142,091 [+14%]. 2017: 124,341 [+38%]
  • Skara Brae [179]: 111,921 [+2%]. 2017: 110,028 [+18%]
  • Linlithgow Palace [187]: 94,718 [+9%]. 2017: 86,596 [+16%]
  • St Andrews Castle [188]: 91,302 [+1%]. 2017: 90,617 [+18%]
  • Fort George [198]: 71,906 [-5%]. 2017: 75,798 [+24%]
  • Iona Abbey [200]: 64,183 [-3%]. 2017: 66,224 [+2%]
  • Blackness Castle [203]: 58,388 [+36%]. 2017 42,810 [+42%]
  • Melrose Abbey [204]: 58,286 [-1%]. 2017:  58,989 [+11%]
  • St Andrews Cathedral [206]: 56,249 [-4%]. 2017:  58,395 [+26%]
  • Tantallon Castle [213]: 43,170 [-14%]. 2017: 49,955 [+17%]
  • Elgin Cathedral [217]: 39,398 [+3%]. 2017: 38,201 [+25%]
  • Craigmillar Castle [220]: 35,442 [+13%]. 2017: 31,269 [+35%]
  • Caerlaverock Castle [221]: 35,305 [-8%]. 2017: 38,540 [+8%]
  • Dirleton Castle [224]: 29,764 [-2%]. 2017: 30,219 [+8%]
  • Dumbarton Castle [226]: 28,546 [+6%]. 2017: 27,033 [+12%]
  • Maeshowe [228]: 28,414 [+11%].
Iona

Iona © David Gill

Sweetheart Abbey: guidebook

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Sweetheart Abbey © David Gill

The Cistercian abbey of Sweetheart was established in 1273. The remains were placed in State Guardianship in 1928. James S. Richardson prepared the first guidebook in 1934. A second edition was issued in 1951. It follows the standard format of History and Description, with a fold-out plan inside the back cover.

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Second edition 1951, 4th impression 1958

The Historic Scotland Official Souvenir Guide is Richardson’s guide, revised by Chris Tabraham. This has a guided tour followed by the history. The text differs from the one prepared by Richardson.

Sweetheart_HS

Rev. ed. 2007

Amusement in Aberdeenshire as newly discovered stone circle turns out to be… well, new.

There has been much amusement in the media over the past few days around the official recording of a stone circle before Christmas by archaeologists from the local council and the national heritage organisation, Historic Environment Scotland, which has turned out to be only around 25 years old.

Described earlier as a smaller variation of sites typical of the region, it was noted that is was in very good condition, and that it was surprising that the site had not been formally recorded before now. The former owner of the land, however, has recently got in touch with the officials explaining that he built the replica in the mid-1990s.

Cue much collective guffawing and some professional embarrassment – neatly summed up on the BBC’s Newsround website as, “Awks!”  The local archaeologist took to twitter noting ruefully, “If you are having an awkward day at work at least you’re not that guy who identified a new prehistoric stone circle to the press that now turns out to be about 20 years old.

A nice piece in the Scotsman this week puts this all into a wider perspective, noting that many archaeological sites of this kind remain mysterious; flags that the honesty and candour of professionals involved will do them good rather than harm; and that there is a history of making ‘new’ monuments.  The example of the Sighthill Megalith is given – and I would encourage you to read Kenny Brophy’s blog on this site, and his other investigations into the past around us in the everyday urban environment.

I agree with the Scotsman article and forsee that the site will indeed become of greater interest to visitors, and should rightly do so.  Given the ’30 year rule’ which applies to listing sites in the built environment, the site is already almost of an age where it could officially be ‘heritage’, and in due course could indeed merit protection – and why not?  It may be a site of its time, and hopefully investigation won’t stop entirely – it would be great to professionally record the motivation of the builder of this new/old site – and, as archaeologists often say, to gain an insight into the society which created it – an advantage we don’t have for sites which really are 4000 years old.