Fingask Castle - situated between Dundee and Perth
This was held at Fingask Castle, on the Carse of Gowrie, courtesy of Andrew Thriepland whose family have owned it for most of the time since the 17th Century.
It was originally built in 1594 by Patrick Bruce and came into the Thriepland family towards the end of the 17th century. Patrick Thriepland was an entrepreneur who became Provost of Perth and married a Miss Bruce. The family were keen Jacobites and the Old Pretender (James V111) visited in 1716. They were forfeited for their political sympathies but got Fingask back in time to support Bonnie Prince Charlie in the '45 uprising; he visited in 1746 on his way north.
Unsurprisingly, the lands and castle were again forfeited but were bought back in 1783 by Sir Stewart Thriepland. It remained in his family till the 1920's when it came into the ownership of the Gilroys. It was once again bought back by the Thrieplands in 1968.
The castle has been rebuilt on at least a couple of occasions (the current building dating to the 1920s), and it was thought that little if any of the original building remained. However, Charles McKean showed us that there was more evidence of the earlier buildings within the existing structure than had been realised heretofore.
After morning coffee and introductions, Andrew took us for a conducted tour of the policies. Fingask is a popular venue for weddings in beautiful and historic surroundings, a pavilion in the grounds providing many of the facilities required. A fine collection of statues is spread around the grounds.
Fingask Castle - Statues in foreground depict a scene from a Robert Burns' poem
We then went up to the drawing room where we heard three interesting talks, during which we broke for lunch.
Allan Rutherford from Historic Scotland described progress on the Scottish Castles Initiative since his last talk to us a year earlier.
A retrospective review of castle restoration in Scotland was being published as he spoke. (Renewed Life for Scottish Castles by Richard Fawcett and Allan Rutherford is now available).
The Handbook on Castle Restoration, drafted by Simpson and Brown, was being revised by HS with input from the advisory committee prior to publication. He summarised its contents, expressed appreciation for the SCA input and sought additional views from the audience (see below).
The Castle Register was being built up slowly; many owners did not reply to his request to visit and many others were either not interested or suspicious of HS 'interference'. Further castles for inclusion were being sought and members were keen that the SCA should submit further suggestions to him.
David Campbell demonstrated the then current state of new Website.
Members were very impressed at the progress he had made and thought that it should give the Association a better 'shop window'.
Janet Inglis gave an interesting and informative summary of the main findings of her research into Castle Restoration since the Second World War. Members enjoyed her talk greatly and had numerous questions.
(Janet submitted her thesis to Dundee University and was awarded a PhD - Congratulations!)
The Members Forum consisted largely of a wide ranging discussion on the practicalities of castle restoration.
Many good points were made which Allan Rutherford noted; Sandy Leask's input was particularly cogent.
The Chairman thanked all speakers and participants, and expressed his appreciation to the Thrieplands for allowing us to use their home for the Conference.