Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Johnstone Castle, Renfrewshire

A-Z Challenge 2012 - J
Johnstone Castle

All that remains today of Johnstone Castle in Renfrewshire, Scotland is the protected Category B square central tower and a crow-stepped section of an older date. The original building dates back to the 16th century. Its L-shape consisted of three storeys and a wing remodelled as a Gothic tower.

Johnstone Castle - North west elevation 2009
The lands in Renfrewshire had passed to Sir Ludovic Houston in 1645; it was the fourth laird of Johnstone Castle, George Houston who in 1771 and 1812 had it extended in the castellated Gothic style.

Frederick Chopin, the Polish composer visited the castle in 1848. It’s said that a relationship existed between Chopin and Jane Stirling, the sister-in-law of the 5th laird. He became sick after a concert in Glasgow and was nursed by Jane and her sister for some weeks. A few months later Chopin died in Paris.

During World War II the MOD took over the castle and a POW camp was set up in the grounds. A Polish soldier who died at the castle is buried in the nearby woods. Supposedly Chopin’s music is sometime to be heard on moonlight nights between the castle and the woods.

Johnstone Castle - viewed from south 2009
Most of the house was demolished in 1950 and the land taken over by the local council. The remains of the castle are now surrounded by a housing estate.

Hilary Melton-Butcher's Scottish Castle yesterday was Inveraray Castle

  • Johnstone Castle, North West Elevation; by wfmillar; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
  • Johnstone Castle; by wfmillar; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


David Robinson said...

Looks a bit Colditz-ish to me, Bob., but that's based on the TV series depiction of Colditz.

Unknown said...

Interesting. Love the pictures.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob .. I guess I didn't select this one for my J as it (the castle)is rather dull .. yet Chopin's music over the Polish prisoner of war's grave gives an evocative thought for the woods nearby ...

Interesting to read about .. and delighted we've gone different again!!

Cheers Hilary

Jeremy Bates said...

I love looking at castles. It's too bad that greedy landowners and developers have demolished so many treasures for a buck.

My ex boss (an Irishman) built a new home about 6 years ago. It is 3-storeys tall and is shaped like a castle. It's fantastic looking and ever so spacious.

La Crona said...

It is interesting with these castles and it has a historical value of itself.

Martha Jane Orlando said...

Loved learning some history here and enjoyed the photos of this wonderful castle.

Unknown said...

Reminds me of a book I read last summer that was set in Ireland.

Too bad most of the house was demolished.

Happy A to Z,

Jenni Steel said...

Renfrewshire Castle very nice. Quite a few of these historical places have been turned into Wedding Venues.

I wonder if that will happen here. Oh how wonderful to have the ghostly sound of Chopan's Minuet as the bride walks down the isle.. I love Chopan music..

Unknown said...

Always long to turn back the clock, see people living there.

SueH said...

Ugly or not - a lot of these fortifications and pele-towers were defensive and designed to keep marauders out.

Some of my ancestors (Johnstone's) hailed from Renfrewshire - they were probably working as minions in the kitchens! ;-)

Other branches of the family were further south, Border Reivers - attacking (and being attacked!) pele-towered dwellings in the 'Debatable Lands'!

(BTW - thanks for stopping by my blog earlier! Happy A-Z'ing!)

SueH I refuse to go quietly!

Jo said...

How tragic that such a place should end up being part of a housing estate.

Unknown said...

Am interested in finding out how the Germans and one Italian soldier lying in Cardonald cemetry came to die apparently in custody at Johnstone Castle, Camp 188. Also does anyone know where the grave of the Polish soldier is now located?