Castles Of Scotland, Part Three: Craigmillar, Edinburgh

by Derrick Bostrom in


Even the most casual castle observer will eventually rub up against the sticky issue of "territorial designation." At one time it was something apparently worth fighting for, dying for, even marrying for. Fortunately, I found an article on the subject by one "Stuart Morris of Balgonie and Eddergoll, yr." that attempts to throw some light on the subject. The article goes on for some length, but if you can bear with me, I've tried to tried to boil it down to the essentials. According to Stuart (or whatever you call him):

Once a designation has been recorded at the Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms, it becomes inseparable from the surname. James MacTavish of Auchenshoogle cannot be James MacTavish through the week and MacTavish of Auchenshoogle at the weekend or at Highland Balls. The whole name should be used as the daily signature, on notepaper, visiting cards, cheques, credit cards etc. Similarly, anyone writing to him should give his full style, to style him as "Mr. MacTavish" or "James MacTavish, Esq." is not only incorrect, it is rude and disrespectful. The correct prefix for a Laird, Baron, Chieftain and Chief is "The Much Honoured". The styles "Mr." and "Esq." should never be used as these are below the status of a Laird. By law, only Peers, Bishops and Chiefs are allowed to sign with one name e.g. "Atholl". A Laird, Baron or Chieftain must use the Christian name, surname and designation e.g. "James MacTavish of Auchenshoogle."

Clear enough.

While beautiful in its own right, with a strong European flavor (no doubt due its extensive sea trade with the continent), Edinburgh struck us as somewhat cold and stern. Given our time constraints, we were unable to crack its touristic facade (though we did find a terrific meal and spend a splendid evening with friends). The imposing castle overlooking the city that bears its name is restored to the point of fussiness and, having once been the headquarters of the Scots Guard, maintains a strong military presence. Many of the exhibits did little but glorify Scotland's participation in England's imperialist adventures. I did, however, enjoy the recruitment posters describing "national service" as an opportunity to play football with one's mates.

Much more charming, and much less crowded, Craigmillar Castle rests nearby in a suburb on the outskirts of town. One of the most intact of Scotland's surviving castles, Craigmillar still has its upper floors, allowing exploration of the rooftops and affording a great view of the big city off in the distance. Except for the resident pigeons, we had the place to ourselves.

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle