Scots Roots

House of the Binns, West Lothian
February 24, 2017, 11:40 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History, West Lothian | Tags: ,

House of the Binns 1The Binns estate, near Linlithgow, is situated on two hills from which it derives its name and the current House of the Binns was built by Thomas Dalyell in 1612. Thomas was an Edinburgh butter merchant who made his fortune as Deputy Master of the Rolls in the court of King James VI and I in London.

House of the Binns 2Thomas’s son, General Tam Dalyell, was a famous Royalist commander in the Civil War who later became the first colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoons, also known as the Royal Scots Greys.

The remains of the steading where the General billeted his troops and the Sergeant’s Pond where they watered the horses can still be seen if walking round the grounds.

House of the Binns 3

The Steading

Extensions were made to the house in the 18th and 19th centuries by Sir Robert Dalyell and his son James.

The tower on the hill, a folly built by Sir James Dalyell in 1826 apparently as the result of a wager, commands a superb panoramic view of the Firth of Forth to the North and the Pentland Hills to the South.

House of the Binns 4

The Tower

The house has remained the home of the Dalyell family to the present day, although it was gifted to the National Trust for Scotland in 1944 provided that subsequent generations of the family would retain the right to live there.

House of the Binns 5

House of the Binns 6


St Andrews Cathedral
February 10, 2017, 5:55 pm
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: ,

St Andrews Cathedral 1Around 732 AD, relics of St Andrew were brought to a place in Fife which would later become St Andrews. A religious community grew there but they were supplanted by an order of Augustinian canons in 1144. The canons took over and extended the existing St Rule’s Church.

St Andrews Cathedral 2By the 1160s it was clear that St Rule’s Church was no longer big enough to accommodate the ambitions of the Augustinians and work was begun on the building of a new cathedral by Bishop Arnold.

It took 150 years to complete and when it was finished it was the largest church in Scotland. It was dedicated in 1318 in the presence of King Robert the Bruce and became the headquarters of the Scottish church.

St Andrews Cathedral 3During the Reformation in the 16th century as Scotland broke away from the Catholic Church in favour of Presbyterianism, the Catholic Cathedral of St Andrew was stripped of its altars, fittings and furnishings.

St Andrews Cathedral 4In the 1560s the parish church of St Andrews became the principal place of worship and the Cathedral effectively ceased to function, gradually falling into disrepair and ruin.

Only a few of the Cathedral walls still stand today, although the 33 metre tall square tower at the rear of the Cathedral walls is part of the 12th century St Rule’s Church and it is possible to climb to the top for a breathtaking view of the town of St Andrews and the surrounding coastline.

St Andrews Cathedral 5

St Andrews Cathedral 6

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