The Scots Renaissance mansion has a rich history, having previously been the residence of the both the Lindsay and Durham families. It is located 1.5 kilometres north of Winchburgh and 9 kilometres east of Linlithgow. A category ‘A’ listed building, constructed in the late 16th century, the building has been undergoing restoration since the 1990s.
The lands of Duntarvie were in possession of the Lindsays from 1527. A charter in 1605 transferred the property from the Lindsays to the Hamiltons of Abercorn. This 1605 charter shows the existence of the castle as early as 1212.
The Durham family initially held Duntarvie as tenants of the Hamilton family. However, according to Historic Environment Scotland, Duntarvie was then granted to James Durham in 1588. The building as it survives today was constructed shortly afterwards.
One story is that the castle is haunted by the ghost of the Countess of Abercorn, and the apparition has reportedly been seen on the battlements, while disembodied voices are said to have been heard during the night. It is thought the identity of the Countess of Abercorn may be Marion Boyd, 1583 - 1632, who was married to Sir James Hamilton, 1575 – 1618, a staunch Protestant. He was created 1st Earl of Abercorn in 1606. His death proved a turning point in the family’s denominational adherence. She was a prominent Roman Catholic and after refusing to convert, was excommunicated by the Church of Scotland in 1628 and subsequently imprisoned in Edinburgh. Weakened by conditions during her captivity, she died in 1632 and is buried in Paisley Abbey. However, why would she haunt Duntarvie castle?
His son James took over his father’s offices in 1580 and served as Chamberlain for Linlithgowshire between 1595 and 1600. He witnessed several charters made by King James at Holyrood House.
The Durham family left Duntarvie in the 1770’s.
In 2008 it was reported that Nicholsby had obtained scheduled monument consent for the restoration, but was placing the property on the market. However, no sale took place, and in 2013 Nicholsby sought planning permission for a "tank play park" in the grounds, that would fund the restoration. Though initially positive, West Lothian Council refused permission when no legal agreement could be reached on the restoration funding. In 2015, roof trusses were installed on the building.
Geoffrey has brought the tradition of fine tailoring back to the historic site – giving a new lease of life.
The information held within The Scottish Register of Tartans for the "Mars Exploration" tartan is shown below.
Geoffrey (Tailor) Highland Crafts
16 November 2016
To be woven only through Geoffrey (Tailor) Highland Crafts.
Designed on behalf of Charles Cockell, Professor of Astrobiology, Edinburgh University, this tartan is intended to be worn during Mars science, exploration and outreach activities. Colours: the red background depicts the surface of Mars, the Red Planet; blue depicts the water-rich past of Mars and the presence of water, mainly as ice, on the planet today; the four green lines represent Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, the presence of habitable conditions on the planet and the possible future presence of life in the form of human settlement; the thick white line represents the Martian poles, visible from the Earth, a conspicuous and important feature of the planet and its long-term climatic cycles.
Note: This tartan was registered in the official Scottish Register of Tartans.
A stonemason is currently in the final stages of completing the rear castle entrance. The completion will enable guests to have access between the summerhouse marquee site and the great hall.
All events held at the venue help to support the ongoing restoration of Duntarvie castle. Therefore, every penny received from events goes into the Duntarvie castle restoration fund.