Edinburgh Hopes.

        

Section 3.3.

Craighall Castle, Ceres, Fife.

 

 

Ruins of Craighall Castle prior to demolition.

Craighall Castle was built in 1637 by Sir Thomas Hope, First Baronet of Craighall (1573-1646) and is the ancestral site, although very little remains of the building, of the Clan Hope whose current Chief is the 19th Baronet of Craighall ( he is Chief of the Scottish Border Hopes as well as the Edinburgh Hopes).   Sir Thomas was an Edinburgh lawyer, Advocate to king Charles 1 and was the legal brains behind the wording of The National Covenant to ensure that it was not deemed treasonous.  He was made a Baronet in 1628.   Sir Thomas also owned a town house in Edinburgh in the Cowgate on a site on which now stands the Central Library of Edinburgh with it's entrance on George IV Bridge.

              Etching of Ruins of Craighall Castle(1840)

Sir Thomas built Craighall Castle adjacent to an existing Craighall Castle and this was incorporated into the new building.   The original castle had been the seat of Andrew Kinnonmounth of the Ilk and had been in Kinnonmounth hands since at least 1507.   When Kinnonmounth died his widow Marjory Stewart married Silvester Rattray and she took the name of Craighall north with her to Blairgowrie in Perthshire.  The Rattray family built a magnificent mansion there also named Craighall Castle.   This mansion became the family seat of the Clan Rattray and remained so until recent times when this lovely mansion was sadly sold earlier this year - 2010.  Sold to a "London based Investment Banker"!  A banker!!  A great loss to Scotland - fallout from the credit crunch?

The Craighall in Fife, of which we speak, apart from being the ancestral site of Clan Hope must also be the ancestrlal site of Clan Kinninmouth (various spellings).   Unfortunately the Kinninmouth chiefly line died out some time ago and there is hence no clan chief.

 

Ruins of Craighall Castle - the remnants of the original Kininmounth Castle which were incorporated into the mansion can be seen on the right.   Photograph taken before demolition in 1957.

Craighall was extended in 1697.  There is an armorial on the pediment of the building which is not of Craighall but of a different branch of the Hope family whose motto of Spero suspiro donec - While I breath I hope is part of the armorial - however the carving is somewhat indistinct and we may never know for sure which Hope family is depicted .   However this motto is that of the Hope family of Granton.   By 1793 the magnificent mansion was in ruins and what remained had to be totally demolished in 1957 as it was deemed unsafe.   The ruins had been listed as Category B by Historic Scotland.   It does not appear to be recorded as to why the mansion became a ruin in short a space of time - a fire perhaps or maybe a landslip?   It is a great shame that so little remains of this ancestral seat of the Clan Hope - a Commerative Plaque would be nice.   It is recorded that stones from the nearby ruins were used to construct a limekiln in 1814.   This substantial limekiln is still there.  It is believed that a fireplace from the ruins was incorporated into a monument for the Rev. Thomas Buchanan that can be found at the crossroads in the village of Ceres.   I believe that a stone/stones from the ruins were incorporated into a garden wall at Hopetoun House somewhere behind the stable block.

 

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