Tantallon Castle: lean-to buildings

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Tantallon Castle © David Gill

The inside of the curtain-wall at Tantallon Castle has a series of horizontal sockets. The Ministry sign helpfully explains them as the traces of likely lean-to buildings. The Historic Scotland guidebook by Chris Tabraham suggests the possibility that they are the remains of the ‘munition houss’ mentioned in 1566.

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Tantallon Castle © David Gill

Dirleton Castle: polite request

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Dirleton Castle © David Gill

Dirleton Castle is set in landscaped grounds. Visitors are invited to keep off the banks, and to use the paths and stairways to visit the remains. This avoids unsightly tracks appearing on the slopes.

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Dirleton Castle © David Gill

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Dirleton Castle © David Gill

Dryburgh Abbey: the dorter

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Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

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Dryburgh Abbey, Dorter © David Gill

The dorter (or dormitory) at Dryburgh Abbey is located on the first floor on the east side of the cloister. It lay above the chapter house and the warming house.

In the 16th century a residence was constructed in the space above the chapter house.

The Ministry signs use the term ‘dormitory’ rather than the Latin ‘dorter’.

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Dryburgh Abbey, east side of the cloister © David Gill

Remains of one of the windows of the dorter can still be seen.

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Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

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Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

It was accessed via the night stairs that lead into the south transept of the church.

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Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

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Dryburgh Abbey, night stairs © David Gill

The day stairs were located on the south side of the chapter house.

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Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

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Dryburgh Abbey, Day Stair © David Gill

Management of heritage sites by the state – researching administrative histories in Scotland

Piecing together the administrative history of heritage properties in care (as an organisational function rather than as decisions relating to individual sites) inevitably requires documentary analysis from a number of sources. Investigating organisations in Scotland which oversaw the national historic sites portfolio, is complicated further by the relationship and stages of devolution of responsibilities between Ministries in London and the former Scottish Office (now Scottish Government). The National Records of Scotland provides a useful research guide for Scottish Government records in the period post-1707 (post Union).

Whilst many responsibilities were transferred to the Scottish Office in the post-War period, responsibility for the Historic Buildings Council for Scotland (which advised on conservation issues) was only transferred from the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works to the Scottish Secretary of State Edinburgh in 1966 (and put under the auspices of the Development Department) .  Formal responsibilities for ancient monuments, royal parks and palaces was not transferred to the Development Department until 1969.  Some aspects of Scottish heritage management are covered in research mentioned before as part of the Men from the Ministry project led by Simon Thurley at the then English Heritage, and records for the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works (and its successors – the Department of the Environment, and Property Services Agency) are held at the National Archives in Kew.

The Scottish-based records are catalogued as: Ministry of Works/Department of Environment/Property Services Agency (MW)
Ancient monuments, 1794-1975 (MW1); royal palaces, parks and gardens, 1816-1968 (MW2-3); public buildings, 1808-1979 (MW5).

As the Historic Buildings & Monuments section within the Scottish Development Department gradually coalesced under the Historic Scotland banner (prior to its formal creation as an Executive Agency), records are also held and catalogued as follows:

Historic Scotland – see Scottish Office Development Department
Ancient monuments case files, from 1859 (DD27) and historic buildings, from 1952 (DD32).

The Scottish Office Central Services (SOE) files have a catalogue relating to Manpower and Organization (SOE1) which contains information on the way in which the Development Department functions were organised, so these are a further line of enquiry for administrative histories of heritage.

There are also inter-relationships with other sites and functions of Government which now may be considered as part of the wider heritage or cultural landscape and therefore other organisations with heritage-related responsibilities (property and land management) are worth considering – this includes Railways and Canals (Ministry of Transport); Forestry (Forestry Commission); countryside recreation and nature protection (Countryside Commission); and Museums and Galleries (formally under the Scottish Office Education Department).

For detailed consideration of individual buildings / monuments, the research guides to Buildings, Canal Records, Lighthouses and Railway Records provide signposts. Additionally, Historic Scotland commissioned Morag Cross to produce a Bibliography of monuments in the care of the Secretary of State for Scotland in 1994, produced as an Occasional Paper by the University of Glasgow’s Archaeology Department, which is a key source of information, as (of course) are organisational records currently held within Historic Scotland (now Historic Environment Scotland) rather than those ‘archived’.

Dryburgh Abbey: book cupboard

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Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

A book cupboard is located on the east side of the cloister at Dryburgh Abbey. It is adjacent into the main east processional doorway into the church, and on the other side the library and vestry.

J.S. Richardson (in the ‘Blue Guide’) noted: ‘Near the processional doorway is a wall-press or aumbry, once fitted with doors and shelves to contain the books used in the cloister’.

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Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

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Dryburgh Abbey © David Gill

 

Smailholm Tower – more guides

As a follow-up to David’s post on Smailholm Tower, in my own collection I have a couple of publications to fill in some gaps. Historic Scotland had moved to producing colour covers for its guides during the mid-1980s during it’s latter years as part of the Scottish Development Department when greater commercial expectations were being made of the Historic Buildings & Monuments department, and the Historic Scotland brand was emerging.  (As an aside, the Scottish Development Department has it’s own interesting organisational history, explored in part by Ian Levitt in 1996 in a paper in Scottish Affairs).

The guide runs to 16 pages, comprising an Introduction, History, Tour, and Exhibition section on the costume figures collection which had been “presented by the Saltire Society to the Secretary of State for Scotland in 1983 for permanent display in Smailholm Tower.” [my italics]  This guide also carries the logo of Gateway supermarkets as a supporter and sponsor (advertising considered in a previous post). A price code is noted on the back cover, as opposed to a set cost which would limit the ability to change the selling price of the guide without a full reprint.

Chris Tabraham (Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments, and author of a number of publications) is the author of the guide, first published in 1985, and in its second impression with amendments in 1989 (pictured). This version of the guide still forms the basis of another revision in 2007 into the modern Historic Scotland guidebook format considered in the previous post on Smailholm, but which still notes that it was first published by HMSO in 1985.

In 1993, Historic Scotland reprinted the Excavation Report for Smailholm which had been published in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 118 (1988), authored by Chris Tabraham and George Good. This was sold at the site (very reasonably, in comparison to many excavation reports) as an additional option to the guidebook. Whilst focusing on archaeological investigations carried out between 1979 and 1981, the publication provides further historical and architectural context for the Tower.