Callendar House: Iron Age – 1783

In Scotland the pleasure ground or park attached to a mansion is known as the policy.  The policy of Callendar House is one of the richest archaeological resources in Scotland with signs of continuous occupation from the Iron Age to the present day.

Illus 1: Lidar Image of Callendar Wood Hill Fort processed by Bruce Harvey.  Hallglen lies to the south.


On the highest point within the policy is a large hill fort which was only discovered in 2002 (Bailey 2011).  It measures 149m W/E by 77m N/S with entrances at the western tip and south-east corner.  Recent Lidar survey coverage has clarified the layout of the single perimeter ditch.

Illus 2: Archaeological Excavation at the Timber Hall on Palace Hill in 1990 showing the foundation trenches.

The morphology of the hill fort suggests that it was constructed in the early Iron Age, though it may have been occupied for centuries.  By the time of the Roman invasion in the second century AD the centre of power seems to have shifted to a small hill fort on Wormit Hill at the east end of the town of Falkirk.  The construction of the Roman frontier system through the northern part of the Callendar policy disrupted the existing infrastructure and upon the Roman abandonment of Scotland the line of the Antonine Wall became the main cross-country route.  The find of a piece of samian behind the Wall on Palace Hill to the north-east of Callendar House might suggest that it became the locus of a local leader at this time.  The site lay on a prominent W/E glacial esker and was ideal.  To the north was the remnant of the Roman wall; to the south the valley of the Gallow Syke which curved round and protected it on the east.  It dominated the main road which here occupied the upcast mound of the earlier frontier.  It is perhaps significant that the Roman wall gave its name to the large tract of land between the rivers Carron and Avon – Calatria – derived from the Gaelic for fence (Reid 1991).  Just as important is the use of the derivative name “Callendar” for the section of the Wall east of Falkirk.

Illus 3: Reconstruction Drawing of the Thane’s Hall by John Reid.

Around the 9th century AD a huge timber hall was constructed on this site (Bailey 2007).  It was around 25m long by 7m wide with an apse at the east end and possibly also the west.  A line of substantial posts ran along the centre with a paved aisle. 

A building with a similar form was found at Chigborough Farm in Heybridge, Essex, which is Late Saxon, its round-ended form perhaps reflecting Scandinavian influence. Another close parallel can be found at Green Shiel in Northumbria, also dated to the 9th century.  In Scotland a not dissimilar building form occurs in Fife and Midlothian and is known as the Pitcarmick type.  Its geographic spread suggests a Pictish tradition.  The hall at Callendar Park may therefore be seen as a fusion of Pictish and Anglian architecture.

The conception, construction and maintenance of such a substantial timber hall required a significant amount of social organisation and cohesion.  It was a high-status site, implying the presence of an important government official or regional leader.  An association with the Thanes of Callendar seems reasonable.  The earliest mention of a Thane at Callendar is in the early 12th century (Reid 1992), but the office of thane is much older and the Christian names of the known thanes hints at a Celtic origin for the family.  As is common, the family’s surname was derived from the location.

Illus 4: Contour Map showing the early sites referred to in the text. Callendar House later occupied the area of peat.

In the reign of David II many thanages were converted into baronies including, sometime around 1230, that at Callendar.  The Abbey of Holyrood received a substantial part of the former thanage, but the Callendar family remained in the smaller barony of Callendar. 

It would seem that Sir John de Calentir originally espoused the Scottish side in the Wars of Independence, but in 1296 he signed the Ragman Roll swearing fealty to Edward I of England and had his lands restored.  Thereafter he fought on the English side and was captured at around the time of the Battle of Falkirk.  In 1299 he was involved in a prisoner exchange. 

Having survived the war with the English the Callendars then fell foul of the political winds in Scotland.  About 1346 Patrick de Callendar forfeited his title, allegedly for supporting the Balliol cause against the Bruces, and the barony was gifted to Sir William Livingston.  Shrewdly William Livingston married Christian de Callendar, the daughter of the last of the Callendars of that ilk.  It seems likely that it was at this time that the site at the timber hall was abandoned in favour of a stone tower house in the sheltered hollow to the south-west.  This hollow was filled with peat and it has been suggested that the billets shown on the Callendar coat-of-arms represent the blocks dug from it showing the importance of the site in the previous centuries as a source of fuel.  Even in the 14th century there was still a significant amount of peat left and part of the preparation of the site must have been the digging of a large perimeter ditch to drain the island of gravel off to the west side. It was on this island that the tower house was built.  Such structures were just beginning to appear in Scotland.  They had thick walls owing not simply due to the need for defence but also to a lack of understanding of construction techniques.  At Callendar House the walls were up to 8ft thick and enclosed a space only around 18ft square.  The south, west and north walls of this tower survive near the west end of the present house.  On the ground floor a window slit is preserved in the south wall.  It has a narrow opening on the exterior face, with chamfered sides and a stepped base allowing light into the cellar.  It is towards the west end of the wall indicating that another such window would have been located to its east in the section later used to form an internal doorway.  A similar window opening in the north wall was also later opened out to form a doorway, this time external, and its partner to the east was observed during re-harling in 2014 (it measured 0.33 by 0.77m externally).  We can presume that the wide entrance in the centre of the west wall had also formerly been a window of this type.  Behind the later plaster frieze there were indications of the spring of a stone vault aligned W/E.  Tower houses of this period often do not possess ground floor doorways and that appears to be the case here – access would have been from the floor above.

Illus 5: The Ground Floor window slot from the interior, with later wooden floor above.

The first floor over the stone vault would have been occupied by the hall.  This was the social and administrative centre of the barony.  Here justice would have been dispensed through the baron courts and meals were consumed in communal groups that reinforced the cohesive bonds of the feudal hierarchy.  This area is now the west end of the library.

Here the windows were larger than on the ground floor with arched recesses having parallel sides.

Illus 6: Reconstructed Plans of the Tower House.

The room on the second floor was the laird’s great chamber or chamber of dais.  It was essentially a bed-sitting room, sparsely furnished with a bed, chairs and side table with maybe a chest or two containing clothes and other valuables.  The windows were similar to those of the hall and that on the west side of the north wall had an aumbry or cupboard in the side wall.  The dressed stone front had a rebate for the wooden doors.  This is where the especially important items were kept – silver plate, charters, jewellery and the like.

Illus 7: Stone Cupboard on the Second Floor of the Tower House.

In the north-west corner of this room there was evidently a mural chamber as here a vertical shaft descends down the internal thickness of the wall.  This would have been capped by a wooden seat containing a circular hole so that it could be used as a toilet or garderobe.  Lost for many decades, it was rediscovered in the 1870s, though, as Meikle relates, its true function was not recognised:

When the north-west corner of this interesting apartment was being pierced for the purpose of opening communication with the small room formed within the circumference of the new tower, it was discovered that within the thickness of the wall there descended to below the basement of the building an open shaft of two or three feet square.  This contrivance up to that time was unknown, and its discovery raised some speculation.  One of the men, furnished with a light, permitted himself to be lowered down by a rope, with the result of finding that the shaft reached to the basement, where further exploration was stopped by rubbish. 

It cannot be doubted but that this was designed by the thirteenth or fourteenth century architect as a means of escape in case of the keep being reduced to the last extremity by siege or sack, and the passage very probably at one time was furnished with an outlet somewhere to the outside of the moat.” 

Unfortunately the escape route was pure fancy!


Illus 8: The Garderobe Shaft.

Only the west wall of the floor above survives with a large fireplace in its centre.  The enlargement of the window adjacent to this has exposed a section through the wall revealing the oyster shells incorporated into its mortar core.  Such shells were often added to the mortar of towers of this period and can be seen at Castle Campbell.  Indeed, oyster shells were often dug out of the Neolithic middens that are found along the old coastline, all the way from Mumrills to Bo’ness, to be calcined for the production of mortar.

The 15th century was a period of incredible prominence for the Livingstons of Callendar in national government and its members spent a lot of their time at royal castles such as Stirling or Dumbarton.  The earliest documentary reference for a castle at Callendar comes in a charter of 1457 from the King to his Great Chamberlain, James Lord Livingston, in which he confirms the baronial lands of “Calentare,” with the castle thereof (Reid notes, RMS ii 606).  It appears in subsequent charters, such as that of 1511 to Alexander Livingston as

the demesne lands of the place of Calentare, extending to a £5 land, with the castle, woods, wards and the parkis thereof

(Reid notes, RMS ii 3560);

and in 1518 a letter by the Bishop of Moray was signed at “the Castle of Callandayr” (Reid notes, RH6/863).

Illus 9: Pont’s Map of Callendar (National Library of Scotland).

Illus 10: Reconstruction Drawing of the Tower House.


Pont, on his map of c1570, shows the tower house as being six storeys high with larger windows on the upper storey capped by a corbelled parapet with corner bartizans.  This suggests that we have lost the upper two floors as well as the battlements.  There is no surviving evidence for the internal stair to these upper floors but logic suggests that it was placed within the thickness of the walls near one of the corners and that on the south-east would have been most suitable.  The great thickness of the walls may therefore have been due to the great height.

Whilst the tower was small on the ground it therefore made up for the space and grandeur by its height.  Nor would it have stood alone.  Within the ditched enclosure would have been timber buildings used as kitchens, dwellings, workshops, stores and stables – housing a veritable village of retainers.  The ditch would soon have filled with water and on its inner side a defensive curtain wall would have provided safety within the barmkin.  Meikle suggests that its west side ran close to the present west wing of the house not far from the tower house and that its east side was further removed, passing under the east wing.  From all accounts there was only one entry into this compound and that seems to have stood at its north-west side in which direction lay the town of Falkirk.  The entrance was strongly guarded by a gatehouse which at an early date was probably of wood and earth but was rebuilt in stone.

Illus 11: The vertical join marking the end of the mid 16th century wing up to the level of the third floor.

The tower house was extended in the mid 16th century by a wing or jamb of lower height.  The addition lay to the south of the tower and was just over 49ft long (15m), thus extending beyond its east side producing an L-shaped plan.  The remaining structural evidence suggests that this was of three storeys which is in conformity to that shown on Pont’s map.  The walls were less thick, being only 4-5ft wide.  As usual the ground floor rooms were all vaulted.  The eastern of these rooms contains an arch at its gable showing that it served as a kitchen.  A series of horizontal oval gun loops was placed at this level along the south front.  One of these had been visible for some time inside one of the wine cellars, but it was only when the harling was removed in 2017 that a further two were identified.

Illus 12(a): Left – horizontal Gun Loop 1 from the inside with chamfered sides and a shelf to pivot the hand gun (scale 20cm).
Illus 12(b): Right – horizontal Gun Loop 3 from the outside with the later window cutting the top left corner.
Illus 13: Reconstructed Plans of Callendar House in the mid 16th Century.

Illus 14: Latrine Chamber on the Second Floor of the mid-16th Century wing.

The first-floor windows with roll and hollow mouldings were quite large and caught the light from the south.  This floor probably included private accommodation for the family leaving the hall in the old tower to continue in its public role.  A short narrow vent towards the west end of the extension indicated the position of a mural chamber which served as a latrine.  As the walls were much reduced in thickness it was not practicable to construct garderobe shafts in their straight lengths, though one can be found in the north-east corner where it utilised the greater bulk of stonework at the junction of the north and east walls (this shaft is now used for services cables and pipes).  On the second floor immediately above this vent another mural chamber was observed from inside.  As can be seen from the photograph these were little more than broom cupboards with rebated margins so that the door would fit snugly.  That was useful for two reasons – first because it excluded the smells from the room; and secondly because it gave greater privacy to the user.  The vent was required because now these chambers held wooden buckets placed under seats to contain the dung.  Not only could these give off unsavoury odours but if allowed to fester they, like the earlier garderobes, produced methane gas.  Dried moss would have been used as wipes and also placed in the bucket.

Illus 15: 16th Century Square Window on the First Floor, probably to light an internal stair (scale 20cm).

A small window with chamfered margins was located between the two eastern windows of the south façade on the first floor.  Now blocked by a single stone slab with rounded ends, it is larger than the latrine vents and may have been placed to light an internal wooden stair.  Such a stair would have been needed as the floor levels in the wing were different from those in the tower.

A sasine of 1620 refers to “the place of Callendare with vulgo lie jame Mains of Callendar” (Reid notes – Register of Sasines 58/2 f.69).  This is an unusual description and on face value it means “the House of Callendar with the wing commonly called the Mains of Callendar.”  Its mention must have been significant and hints that the wing was seen as an important adjunct and was well-appointed.

Illus 16: Conjectural Reconstruction Drawing of Callendar House in the late 16th Century.


The year 1651 was a turning point in the history of Callendar House.  Cromwell had seized most of Lowland Scotland following his victory at Dunbar and on 14 July 1651 turned his attention to the house.  Cromwell’s troops reported that “the House is very strong, with a Moate about it, and a great Wood by it.”  Two  battery  pieces were  brought  from  Linlithgow  and  the bombardment  of  the house with these great guns started  that  evening.  The outer yard of the fortified house was large enough to hold 40 horses and some cattle and was protected by the ditch or moat and a barbican wall (the ditch was still partly visible in 1780 according to Kier who mentions the large area involved).  Despite these defences, it was not strong enough to survive such an onslaught.  Nor did its location lend itself to defence against gunpowder as it was overlooked on most sides.  

The next day the garrison under the command of Governor Lieutenant Galbraith (the Earl of Callendar was not present) twice refused to surrender.  Finally, about sunset on the 15th the outer walls were breached by the siege cannon and faggots were used to cross the moat.  The house was stormed by a party of about 260 men led by Colonel Monck and his own unit which became known as the Coldstream Guards.   The garrison died fighting with the result that 62 were killed and only 13 injured soldiers as well as 17 countrymen and women were taken prisoner.   The governor, Lieutenant Galbraith, was amongst the dead.  The dead it would seem were buried by Cromwell’s troops in the vicinity of the gatehouse which they demolished to make sure that the castle would no longer be defensible.   150 years later, during major landscape work which involved the levelling of the last vestiges of the barbican gateway and the uprooting of its foundations, a large number of human bones was discovered (Kier 1827, 209; Meikle 1879, 40).  The day after the successful siege Cromwell himself stayed in the ruins of Callendar House. 

Falkirk’s inhabitants made the most of the relative calm that followed the attack and lost no time in plundering the ruins of Callendar House of its iron and lead fixtures.  They were afterwards dealt with by the Earl’s own court in his absence as the following example shows: 

“Compeirit John Bowie mertchand in Falkirk and declairit That he brocht awey from the place of Callender at Several tymeis Patrick Guidlett being with him Sevine steane [?] of Irone being glasebandis window  bandis  sneckis  and uther small irone And ane chimney breace And that he got the said sevine steane of irone and Patrick Guidlett gat the chimney And that he first sold [blank] to John  Guidlett  and  weychtit  in  his awne hous and  then  tuik  it  to  Johne Guidlettis  hous  quhair it steyit tua nightis thairintill And becaus he  could not get money for it he tuik it bak again and sold it to Patrick Dick in Airthe And declairit that he and the said Patrick Guidlett did cutt ane mykill sow  of Leide  in  four  peices and caryit the sameine to the Woode and  did  hyde  the sameine thair and befour he come bak to cary it awe thairfra it was takine awey sua  that he could not get it againe And that he and Patrick blameit ilk ane of thame  the  uther for the sameine As also declairit that he  brocht  awey  from Callander  Aught peices of Caike Leide quhilk was four steane weyght quhilk  he sold  to ane Boateman for tua merk the steane” 

(Barony Court Book,  250, dated 2 December 1651).

The estate was placed in the hands of Trustees by the English as part of a general sequestration of the properties of those who had been involved in the Engagement.  Monck received its much-diminished revenues.  The Earl of Callendar spent long periods under arrest and although the estate was discharged late in 1655 he may never have spent much time at his ruinous house and probably stayed in his new town-house in Earl’s Lane just off Vicar Street whenever he visited Falkirk.   The estate was in considerable debt by this time.

For several years Callendar housed English soldiers.  By the time that the Earl of Callendar returned it was evident that to resurrect the outer defences was pointless.  He must, in any case, have agreed not to, and they were probably demolished before he retook possession.  The house was in a poor condition and the Earl had to decide whether to build a replacement on a new site nearby, demolish the remains and build on the same site, or to carry out extensive alterations and add to what was left.  He chose the latter because the house represented his inheritance.  Not only did it have historical significance but it stood for the feudal superiority of his family.  In 1682, after the reconstruction, Michael Livingston of Bantaskine published his poem “Patronus Redux” which contains the following reference to this incident:

"The ancient Towre, which was by the English storm'd,
And by them suffer'd an unbribed death;
Behov'd by levelling, to be reform'd,
And to be purg'd from the Usurper's breath."

The account of the storming of the castle suggests that the cannon were placed near the Antonine Wall to the north-east of the house and that the gatehouse was bypassed in the attack.  The part of the old tower most exposed to the incoming projectiles would therefore have been its east wall and this was entirely removed during the reconstruction and the house then extended in that direction.  The re-entrant angle of the L-shaped predecessor was built up and a slightly narrower wing thrust eastward for an additional 90ft in the early 1670s.  It would have been at this time that the upper storeys of the tower were removed and the lower floors incorporated into the unified design in a grand Continental style which would have been familiar to the Earl from his days in the service of the Dutch and English armies there.  Internally it still resembled the traditional Scottish mansion with storage rooms on the ground floor and the principal rooms or piano nobile on the first.  The ground floor rooms were vaulted with a narrow service corridor along the north side, also vaulted.

Illus 17: Stone Vault of Room G13 taken from the later bay window with the Conference Room (F110) above.


The main entrance appears to have been in the centre of the north façade of the new wing and in 1681 a broad avenue was cut through the esker carrying the Antonine Wall to provide a vista from the front door of this new mansion to the Ochils.  Upon entry the honoured guests were received in a laigh hall and turned left to reach the new stairwell at the south-east corner of the building.  This, it would seem, was located in anticipation of further expansion to the east (the small window slits to light it are now hidden behind the panelling in the Cromwell Stair).  A second stair seems to have been placed in the re-entrant block with direct access to an external door.  Its hidden location suggests that it was for the servants.

Little survives to provide us with information about the first floor.  A brief description of the building written in 1782 provides us with some indication:

There is a house upon Callendar which was built before the forfeiture.   This house is very extensive: it contains a dining room and drawing room, both of a very large size, and a multiplicity of bedrooms… The front is northward looking toward the Firth of Forth

(Forbes Papers 116/38). 

Illus 18: Mid 17th Century Plasterwork covered on the right by later lathe and plaster and cut on the left by new brickwork required to insert a concrete lintel over a doorway.

The dining room was the western of the two rooms (Room F110) and appears to have been wainscoted.  The bedrooms would have occupied the area of the old tower house and the new section in the re-entrant angle.  Further bed chambers lay on the upper floors where a small surviving patch of plasterwork frieze indicates the rich ornamentation that once existed.  Its design consists of a narrow chevron band carrying alternate circles and lozenges. 

In the sunken spaces created by the band are plants – a rose, a tulip and a thistle.  Small triangles hang below the frieze. The thistle and rose may be compared with those depicted on a ceiling roundel in the Norie Room in Riddle’s Court in the Royal Mile, Edinburgh.  It dates to 1684 and is believed to have been commissioned by Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Prestonhall who bought the house that year.  Sir Roderick was a monarchist and a supporter of Charles II – hence the rose for England and the thistle for Scotland.  The Earl of Callendar also supported the monarch – from time to time.

Illus 19: Roll-and-Fillet Mouldings on one of the north façade windows with chamfered plinth course – 1990 before restoration work.


Externally the 1670s house was unusual for a Scottish mansion.  The main north façade of the new wing was built in polished ashlar with a chamfered plinth course, moulded string courses and a cornice, presumably capped by a plain parapet.  The window margins here were beautifully finished in roll-and-double-fillet mouldings.  Lozenge-shaped mason’s marks occur on the wall.  The windows on the ground floor are large, especially when compared to those usually found at this level.  Those on the floor above were even bigger.  When David Crawford had a house built in Hamilton, by the well-known architect James Smith, it was said to be

after the fashion of the Laird of Livingston’s house, and as many windows in front as his

(Marshall 1973, 55).

Illus 20: Conjectural Reconstruction Drawing of Callendar House in 1674.


The neat ashlar stonework and the elaborate mouldings of the wing provided a deliberate contrast to the plain harling of the old main block.

Illus 21: Reconstructed Plans of Callendar House in 1674.

The first Earl of Callendar died at Callendar House in March 1674 and was buried in the family vault in Falkirk Parish Church.  He was succeeded by his nephew, Alexander Livingston, who had been living at Almond Castle where a neatly composed Renaissance style mansion had recently been created.  It was probably Alexander, now the second Earl of Callendar, who was responsible for the completion of the building work at Callendar House.  Another broad harled block was added to match that on the west in order to create the desired symmetry of the main façade with a central recessed paved forecourt.  Internally some of the fine moulded fireplaces survive hidden behind later features.  One still has a painted black and white chequered decoration.

Alexander sympathised with the Covenanters and as a consequence suffered administrative persecution from the government.  In 1675 and again in 1678 soldiers were garrisoned at Callendar House purportedly as part of the billeting regulations, but actually to punish the second Earl for his liberal principles.

The 1683 poem shows that the work on the house had already been finished by that time:

“His Palace, bord’ring with the common Rode,
 Seems, hospitably, for its guests to call;
And by his pains, repaired alamode,
Outbraves the Shadow of the RomanWall.

He means his dwelling publicklie to shew,
Removing lets, which might obstruct the eye;
So Drusus House was built in open view,
That all the City might his life survey.”

The last stanza refers to the cutting of the vista through the ridge in front of the house.  Other references in the poem mention the construction and gift of the Cross Well in the centre of the town of Falkirk.  It was Alexander who established the Stentmasters to maintain the burgh’s water supply, leading eventually to the creation of a town council.  He did not, however, live long to enjoy the property at Callendar and died in August 1685.  Initially the house and estate were taken into the possession of Lord John Hamilton, but after a court case they were awarded to Alexander Livingston, the second son of the third Earl of Linlithgow, in 1688. 

Illus 22: Reconstructed Plans of Callendar House c1690.

Upon taking possession the third Earl of Callendar received the sequestered rents for the previous three years and seems to have used these to modify and extend Callendar House yet further to the east.  The most significant alteration to the house was the insertion of a Grand Staircase.  This was formed by removing an existing floor and blocking up a door on the first floor.  A large platt and scale cantilevered wooden staircase was built with simple turned balusters in the centre and half-balusters and a vestigial handrail along the walls.  Much of the present oak panelling of this room is of a later date (1916), replicating the earlier original. 

Illus 23: The Ceiling on the Cromwell Stair.

The broad stair is relatively plain but is given extra richness by the plaster ceiling painted in a Baroque manner.  Using the trompe l’oeil technique it gives a perspective vista framed in an oval depicting a woman glancing over the balustraded balcony of an oculus down onto the onlooker with cherubs holding garlands of flowers floating in the sky.  A similar scene can be seen at Hopetoun House, attributed to the Dutch artist Philip Tideman c1704.  Today this is known as the Cromwell Stair. 

The extension took the form of a narrow two storey wing on the east.  The plasterwork suggests that this was used as additional bedroom accommodation.

Alexander, third Earl of Callendar did not have long to enjoy his house either.  He died in December 1692 and his five year old son, James, the fourth Earl, was served as heir on 4 August 1693. The estate was administered by family trustees until he came of age and one of their first tasks was to pay the outstanding building bills:

“Det. James Earl of Callendar heir to his umqll father, and tutors, to pay Wm Baird measone in —- £1918scconf. acct.
Det. same to pay John Dick measone in Madistone£3611.4
Det. same to pay Thomas Andrew in —£1812sc
Det. same to pay Rot. Andrew measone in Madistone£114sc(30 January 1694)
Same to pay John Muirhead, smith in burnbridge£329.4(13 February 1694)
“Det. same to pay John Forbes glasier in Borrowstonness£1459sc(31 July 1694)
(Barony Court Book).

In 1707 Robert Sibbald’s “History and Description of Stirlingshire, Ancient and Modern” was published in which he describes the building thus:

“The House of Calander is a Noble Seat, with fine Buildings added to the Castle of Calander… The Calander has a large Wood adjacent to it, with Walks cut through it, and Fish Ponds near the House, and Gardens, and large Inclosures to the East and West.”

At the age of 27 years James, fourth Earl of Callendar, joined the Jacobite forces at Sheriffmuir in November 1715 and as a consequence was attainted. The confiscated estate was sold to the York Buildings Company in 1720 and the following year it was rented out to a trust for Lady Anne Livingston, the daughter of the exiled earl. Her husband, the Earl of Kilmarnock, whom she married in 1724, was constantly in financial straits and it is clear that little further work, even essential maintenance, was done on the house. In 1727 the author of “A Tour through the whole island of Great Britain by a gentleman” stated that “the Town of Falkirk is near Callendar House, but nothing in it remarkable, but the old decayed house of the Earl of Callendar.”

In September 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed at Callendar on his way to Edinburgh and the Battle of Prestonpans. As a result of that victory, Kilmarnock, hoping to revive his fortunes, joined the Jacobite cause. He was subsequently captured at Culloden and beheaded at Tower Hill in London. His son, who became the Earl of Erroll, took over the lease and stripped assets from the estate in preparation for the day when it would come up for sale and he would get the opportunity to buy it back for the family. That story can be found in other sections of this history…


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G.B. Bailey, 2021