Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Fingask Castle, near Dundee

Fingask Castle boasts an array of distinctive topiary, sculptures, and ornamental follies. The castle has a rich history, tracing back to 1594 when Patrick Bruce constructed it, although the Bruce family had been established on the site since the 14th century1‚ÄėHistory of Fingask Castle‚Äô. 2020. Fingaskcastle.co.uk <https://www.fingaskcastle.co.uk/blog/detail/history> [accessed 7 March 2023].

Fingask is first documented in the Foundation Charter of the Abbey of Scone in 1115 by Alexander I. A popular pilgrimage site, St. Peter’s Well, is situated in the dell below the castle, and has been a pilgrimage site for centuries. In times past, these pilgrims would arrive at Port Allan on the Tay and make their way to Dunkeld to pay homage to the shrine of St. Queen Margaret.

In 1671, Laurence Bruce, the then Laird of Fingask, faced financial troubles that led to the sale of the estate2Wikipedia Contributors. 2022. ‚ÄėFingask Castle‚Äô, Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fingask_Castle#Threipland_baronets> [accessed 7 March 2023]. Patrick Threipland, who had married into the Bruce family, acquired the property3‚ÄėHistory of Fingask Castle‚Äô. 2020. Fingaskcastle.co.uk <https://www.fingaskcastle.co.uk/blog/detail/history> [accessed 7 March 2023]. Fingask has since remained in the possession of the Threipland family, with a few interruptions in ownership. The family’s involvement in the Jacobite rebellions proved detrimental to their fortunes, as they initially supported both the old and young pretenders. As a consequence, Fingask suffered damages and occupation by Government Dragoons during this period, ultimately leading to its confiscation by the Crown.

However, Sir Stuart Threipland managed to repurchase Fingask in 1783, ensuring that it remained in the family’s possession until the early 1920s. At that point, the property was acquired by Sir John Henderson Stewart, a whisky merchant, and subsequently by Brian Gilroy, who oversaw significant renovation and restoration efforts4Wikipedia Contributors. 2022. ‚ÄėFingask Castle‚Äô, Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fingask_Castle#Other_owners> [accessed 7 March 2023]. Eventually, ownership of the castle returned to the Threipland family in 1968.

At Fingask, the collection of topiary sculptures is a defining characteristic, featuring a whimsical array of lopsided forms and twisted swirls, arranged in haphazard lines.


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