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CLAN HAMILTON - Our Scottish Places


Brodick Castle

This red sandstone castle nestles in dark trees at the foot of Goatfell Mountain on the small but beautiful Isle of Arran. The site has been occupied by a stronghold of some kind since the fifth century. It was probably destroyed and rebuilt countless times during its turbulent history.

Brodick Castle In 1503 the castle and Earldom of Arran were granted by James IV to his cousin, Lord Hamilton. That structure was demolished in 1544. Parts of the present castle date from 1588 during the ownership of the 2nd Earl of Arran, who was the guardian and regent of Queen Mary.

The Hamiltons retained the castle for the next four hundred years, until the death of the 12th Duke of Hamilton in 1895. Many changes took place in the structure as duke succeeded duke. The most important was the doubling in size of the castle in 1844 by the 10th Duke of Hamilton and his bride, Princess Marie of Baden. The high tower and magnificent Victorian rooms designed by James Gillespie Graham,, one of the architects of Edinburgh's New Town, remain as a lasting memory to the Hamilton Family.

In 1895, the 12th Duke of Hamilton died without a male heir and the castle passed to his daughter, Mary Louise Hamilton, who later married the 6th Duke of Montrose. Brodick Castle was the home of a different ducal family for only one generation though, for upon the death of Mary, Duchess of Montrose in 1957, the castle has been owned and preserved by the National Trust for Scotland.

Today, the priceless collection of paintings, porcelain and silver in the castle are on display to the public. The Clan Hamilton Society supports the continued preservation of Brodick Castle by monetary donations to the National Trust for Scotland every year. Society members visiting Scotland may visit Brodick Castle, and other Trust sites, without charge by contacting our Society Secretary.



The story of a rich and powerful family is en capsulated in this unpretentious and fascinating home, which the present occupant, the 15th Duke of Hamilton and Brandon, and his talented Duchess are determined to make welcoming and historically informative. Purchased by the 14th Duke of Hamilton, Lennoxlove is furnished with many of the treasures from the magnificent Hamilton Palace in Lanarkshire, which had to be dismantled in the 1920s because of subsidence due to coal mining.

Lennoxlove Lennoxlove is more than just a home. It gracefully occupies an enormous 2,287 acre estate which is located just 17 miles from Edinburgh, in . It is a working estate with the main crop being cereal grains and potatoes and the estate is complete with a saw mill and wood treatment plant. A herd of the famous Scottish white cattle roams the green fields of the estate, the last such herd to be found in Scotland.

This mellow and romantic house in the beautiful East Lothian countryside is packed with Hamilton treasures and portraits from the past. Most prized is the 15th-century French silver casket given to Mary Queen of Scots by her first husband, the Dauphin of France. This is the famous casket said to have contained the incriminating letters that led to her sentence and subsequent execution. Also on display is her death mask. The estate is open to the Public, except on Fridays.

Hamilton Mausoleum

Hamilton Mausoleum In the early 18th century, the 5th Duke of Hamilton demolished the old medieval collegiate church, all but a transept that was the Hamilton family burial vault. The 10th Duke, 'Il Magnifico' , considered that the transept of an old church was not a fit place to bury members of what he considered to be the Scottish royal family. He commissioned the design and construction of a grandiose and unforgettable Mausoleum , in which he reinterred the bodies of his ancestors.

The Mausoleum is topped by an enormous cupola, has massive bronze doors modelled on those of the Baptistry in Florence and an octagonal chapel flanked by stone lions. Upon his death in 1852, the 10th Duke was laid to rest in this chapel, reposing in an sarcophagus meant for an Egyptian princess. The Mausoleum is located in the Strathclyde Country Park.


Chatelherault Hunting Lodge
To close off the view from the Hamilton Palace, James,the 5th Duke of Hamilton, commissioned William Adam to design a 'hunting lodge' for the estate. Adam referred to it as the "dog kennels of Hamilton", and part of the building was actually used for kennels, stables and estate buildings.

James called this 'landscape folly ' Chatelherault. after the French Dukedom of Chatelherault that had been bestowed upon the 5th Duke of Hamilton. After falling into disrepair, it has now been beautifully restored using old photographs and drawings. It's reinstated elegance and grandor is now appreciated by more than 100,000 visitors each year.


Town of Hamilton

It is here that the story of Hamilton begins......with a name that literally means "beautiful castle", 'Cadihou' in the original Celtic. King David I of Scotland made Cadzow a Royal Barony in the 12th century. King Robert the Bruce gave the Barony to Walter FitzGilbert after Bannockburn and the name of town was later changed to 'Hamilton' by Royal Charter in 1445, in recognition of the the family name of Hamilton. 'Cadzow' gradually faded from the map and Hamilton came into focus.

The history of the area is very much the history of the Hamilton family, or vice versa. There is a palpable sense of continuity to this town, an unbroken line going back fourteen hundred years. The town and the surrounding country side resounds with the history of the Hamiltons, and of Scotland, and should be visited by all Hamiltons.

Holy Cross High School in Hamilton has an excellent Hamilton Home Page that is well worth a visit.

Cadzow Castle Ruins
Ruins of Cadzow Castle, the
'seat' of the Duke of Hamilton,
near the Town of Hamilton


Last updated 09/01/2015
by Hamilton Web Master

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