Page 20

comlongon_history

Similar marks have been found in other castles throughout the region which would indicate either the same masons were working at the same time or possibly families or guilds shared the same marks. These marks may well be a sign of quality or simply a mark of ownership, some sort of product identification or a receipt of payment. Debate still surrounds these intriguing relics. COMLONGON AROUND 1600 Comlongon Castle was inhabited until at least 1600, when the importance of the estate waned somewhat as the family concentrated upon their other vast estates in both Scotland and England. The lawlessness of the region had vexed both nations for many years and under the union of the crowns it was agreed to flood the area with a combined UN style Anglo Scottish policing force to finally bring some order to this turbulent region. The following thawing of relations in the border region and to some degree a certain level of stability led them to install a series of factors to run the lucrative estate. This seems to chiefly fallen to the responsibility of the Johnestone-Jardines, another powerful local dynasty. A new mansion was constructed in around 1610, as an inventory dated from 1624 lists the contents of the castle as little more than abandoned, which would indicate the buildings function, that as a protective fortress was no longer of prime importance. We do know this first mansion was rebuilt around 1730. This coincides with the discovery of slaking of lime as a form of fertilizer. This innovative form of industry regenerated the area, with some 16 quarries opening up within 6 miles within a few years. This new form of income gave the area a much needed boost in both revenue and fortune. It is estimated the population level of the area 1730-1740 increased by 400%. Most were employed by the new quarries. The present mansion was constructed by the well known architects of James Barbour and JM Bowie, (who were responsible for numerous buildings in the region from 1888- 1930), in 1901. Although built in the style of what was known as the Scottish Baronial Style, they reused many of the previous buildings components, which resulted in the French oak paneling dating from 1730 being incorporated into the present hotel. Luckily the Castle was somewhat restored in late 1800’s, with a new roof being reinstated. There are several inscriptions carved in the roof timbers from artisans that attest to their presence at this time. However this roof was constructed in timber and slate, which proved within a few decades to be too much weight for the ancient walls to tolerate. This does lend credence to the theory that the original roof was composed of peat or wooden tiles which would have been 25% of the weight of slates. 20


comlongon_history
To see the actual publication please follow the link above