Callendar House, Falkirk

Callendar House, Falkirk, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on one of Scotland’s principal historic houses which sites on a site with links back to the Roman era in the 2nd century AD.

Callendar House in Falkirk  (central Scotland) is a combined visitor attraction, museum and library which open all year round and offers free entry. The substance of the current building dates from the 19th century in style of a French Renaissance Chateau but at the building’s core is a 14th century Tower House.

A brief history of the lands and historic house is as follows:

  • 11th century: Thane of Callendar (King’s representative) builds house ( not the current building) in shadow of the Roman era Antonine Wall. Tenure of family lasts until 1346.
  • 1346: The lands of Callendar granted to Sir William Livingston whose family were prominent in Scottish politics for the succeeding four centuries.
  • 1450-1453: A hiatus when the lands were forfeit and then restored to the Livingstones.
  • 16th century: The 5th Lord Livingston was a Guardian of Mary Queen of Scots during her minority.
  • 17th century: The 8th Lord Livingston was a supporter of the Royalist cause during the civil wars.Callendar House besieged by Cromwell’s troops.Hoiuse returned to the Livingstones on restoration of the monarchy.
  • 18th century: 4th Earl of Callendar fought on side of the Jacobites which lost Battle of Sheriffmuir. Lands were forfeited in 1720 and sold to the York Buildings Company.
  • 1721-1780s: Callendar House was leased from the owner by descendants of the Earl of  Callendar.
  • 1783: Estate was bought by William Forbes who owned a successful copper-smith business in London.Property remained in ownership of the Forbes family through to 1963 when property sold to Falkirk Town Council.
  • 1980s: Callendar House becomes H Q of the Falkirk Museums Service and subsequently a visitor attraction.

Clearly, a site which allows visitors to connect with the chequered history of Scotland right back to Roman times.

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