Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Exposure: Rowallan Castle

Rowallan Castle as viewed across the Carmel burn
Rowallan Castle -- it's really more of a manor house -- is open to visitors only seven days a year.

Scotland's earliest known lute music was written -- or at least transcribed -- at Rowallan around 1620. The composer, Sir William Mure, was a soldier, an accomplished poet, a family historian, and fecund father of fifteen. In the 1600s, the lute was Europe's most important secular instrument, though culturally Scotland was a bit behind the times.

Mure would play these tunes in Rowallan Castle's great hall. He did so with an eye for romance, inscribing his manuscript: "for kissing for Clapping for Loving for proving." That's right, centuries before it became common to serenade the ladies on guitar or piano, the lutenist was the bad boy of music.

The recordings below are by a wonderful Scottish musician, Rob MacKillop. Take a listen:

Rowallan Castle with attached ruined keep
Recent excavations show that human settlements have used this knoll since the Bronze Age. The ruined keep dates from the 1200s.

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