Closet and Cabinet

Mary Dudley (1586-1644) was a cousin of Lucy, Countess of Bedford and a friend of Lady Ann Clifford She married Alexander, Earl of Home in 1605. Widowed in 1619, she continued to build and extend family townhouses in Edinburgh and London, and collect paintings and bronzes. She was a patron of Francesco Fanelli, Nicolas Stone,…

An exchange of prisoners in 1523

While looking for details of life at Aberdour Castle in the seventeenth century, I found a letter from 1523, addressed to George Douglas of Pittendreich from Antony Ughtred, captain of Berwick. The English soldiers named here were called 'whitecoats'. Ughtred wanted to return Scottish prisoners in an exchange at Bunkle castle, near Reston in the…

Lady Binning’s feather

Katherine Erskine married Thomas Hamilton, later 2nd Earl of Haddington, and was known as Lady Binning. She died in 1635, and her mother Marie Stewart, Countess of Mar, was anxious to recover jewels which her servant Charles Mowatt had pawned. He had also died. Marie Stewart gave her agent John Wallace an inventory of the…

Two letters about cheese

Around six letters sent to Agnes Leslie, Lady Lochleven survive, four in the National Library of Scotland and two in the National Records of Scotland. Two letters are about cheese: cheese bought in Stirling by her agent Alexander Bruce, and cheese gifted to Marion Douglas, wife of the keeper of Edinburgh Castle, George Douglas of…

Fabrics from a Dundee merchant, 1573

A Dundee merchant’s letter offering dress fabrics, June 1573 Peter Clayhills wrote to Agnes Leslie, Lady Lochleven, sending her order of fabrics. He offered her summer dress fabrics, and velvet from the stock that had ‘come home’, and cloth he expected to arrive at midsummer. One fabric was 'very light for gowning in summer'. This…

Second-hand clothes in sixteenth-century Edinburgh

Visual sources for costume and clothing in sixteenth-century Scotland are very rare, but there are archival sources. Personal clothing appears, albeit infrequently, in wills. The wills of Edinburgh merchants and stall holders regularly include their entire stock books of textiles running a gamut from local woollens to figured Italian velvets imported via the markets of…

Dumbarton Castle: Women at Work

In March 2019 I looked at the history of Dumbarton Castle from 1500 to 1700 for Historic Environment Scotland, highlighting events and people. It was interesting to read of one of the keepers in 1620, Sir John Stewart of Methven who built a castle on his estate Ireland at Mongavlin, while neglecting his duties at…