|This image is the copyright of Andrew
Spratt who has generously given permission to display it here.
a high grassy hill above the Ayrshire village of Dundonald stands the
gaunt grey ruin of Dundonald castle and ancient stronghold of the noble
Stewart family. The present tower was built by Robert Stewart, possibly to
mark his accession to the throne as King Robert II (1371-1390) of Scots,
in 1371,on the foundations of several other fortifications.
hillside itself was a prehistoric Dark Age hillfort and since 'Dun' means
'tower' or 'fort' it appears the first building was the 'tower' of
'Donald'. Though it is unclear who this Donald was ,a local King perhaps
or some relative of the ancient Clan Donald (later the MacDonalds Lords of
the Isles, 'Mac' simply meaning 'son of ' hence MacDonald).
next fortification was an earthen 'Motte and Bailey' raised by Walter 'The
Steward' who came to Scotland around 1136. It consisted of a high man made
mound (Motte) capped by a wooden tower and below this a village (Bailey),
made up of wooden n' wattle constructed houses with thick thatched roofs.
All surrounded by a wooden palisade and ditches.
first stone castle of Dundonald was built by Alexander Stewart in the late
1200's and appears to have covered most of the grassy summit. With two
double towered gateways on the east and west side, with possibly two
D-plan towers on the north and south sides all joined by a courtyard wall.
Sadly this great castle was destroyed during the Wars of Independence with
England. The present oblong tower raised by King Robert II sits on the
stumps of this western gateway and is a shadow of its former glory.
reconstruction painting shows this oblong tower as it may have been in
1425 when King James I (1406-1437) of Scots met here with John the 'Red'
Stewart (an illegitimate son of Robert II) to mass a royal army to battle
the Lennox rebels led by James the 'Fat' Steward, a son of Murdoch
Stewart, Duke of Albany who had been arrested along with the Earl of
Lennox for treason by the King. Unfortunately, John the 'Red' was defeated
and killed at Dumbarton castle by James the 'Fat'.
retaliation King James beheaded Murdoch Duke of Albany, his other son
Walter and Murdoch's father-in-law the Earl of Lennox, at Stirling castle.
He then transported these heads to the 'Red' Douglas stronghold of
castle where they were thrown into the dungeon beside the captive
Duchess of Albany in an effort to drive her insane. James the 'Fat' fled
to Ireland calling himself King of Scots and began to mass a huge army to
invade the west coast of Scotland. But he died before the English and the
MacDonalds Lords of the Isles could help him seize the Scots throne from
James I. The present ruin of Dundonald stands as a reminder of the Stewart
dynasty's less than noble but bloodthirsty past.
We would welcome biographical details for this person.
Click to contribute
Please note that if you employ Spam Assassin, or similar email
blockers, then you must ensure that you can receive emails from