W. Douglas Simpson (1896–1968) prepared a series of Ministry guidebook for sites in State Guardianship. He was lecturer in British History at the University of Aberdeen (by 1924), and then He served as Librarian and Registrar for the University of Aberdeen from 1926 through to 1966. He served as Chair of the Ancient Monuments Board for Scotland. He was awarded OBE (1954) and CBE (1962).
In 1959 Simpson prepared Scottish Castles: An Introduction to the Castles of Scotland (HMSO, 1959). In the Foreword he wrote: ‘Those who read this little book will come to realise that, small and poor as it has always been, Scotland yet possesses a distinctive castellated architecture, and one of which any nation might be proud’. There are eight sections:
- The earliest castles
- Castles of enceinte
- The early tower houses
- Bastard feudalism and the later castles
- The later tower houses
- The royal palaces
- Firearms and the later “House of Fence”
- The Scottish baronial style
Several of the castles and abbeys he studied were located around Aberdeen: Tolquhon Castle (1948), Huntly Castle (1954), Kildrummy and Glenbuchat (1957); the Abbey of Deer (1952).
Kirkcudbrightshire: Threave Castle (1948)
Angus: Edzell Castle (1952); Restenneth Priory (1952)
Isle of Bute: Rothesay Castle (1952)
East Lothian: Hailes Castle
Roxburghshire: Hermitage (1957)
Lanarkshire: Bothwell Castle (1958)
Orkney: Kirkwall (1965)
The guidebook for Dunstaffnage (1981) contains his draft.
He also prepared (with V. Gordon Childe) the Illustrated Guide to Ancient Monuments … vol 6: Scotland (1954).
He prepared one guidebook for the National Trust for Scotland: Craigievar Castle, the rock of Mar (1966) (NTS). This castle is located to the west of Aberdeen.
Hall, A. (2004, September 23). Simpson, William Douglas (1896–1968), archaeologist and historian. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. Retrieved 5 Aug. 2018, from http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-49530.