The Doric Columns
Mar's Castle -
Mar's Castle - Port
Mar's Castle stood on the east side of the Gallowgate, nearly opposite Innes Street. It was demolished at the beginning of 1897 to make way for street widening.
Very little is known about the building. It is said to have been built by an Earl of Mar for his town lodging in the 15th century. However, when it was being demolished on account of its tumbledown state, the date 1595 was found on the gable. At one time, it had a large garden and summer house at the rear.
Site of Mar's Castle, (below) after its demolition in 1897. The building in the background was for many years the meeting place of the Society of Friends (Quakers). The louvred building behind and slightly south was for many years the Meeting House of the Society of Friends (Quakers). They also had a burial ground in front of the building on the Gallowgate side in the 1670s. Their building was later acquired by John Watt and Sons, leather merchants. The upper part had louvred windows which made it very suitable for the drying of leather.
An old writer says that during the Civil Wars (of the Stuarts) "There was no city in Scotland which did suffer more hurt than Aberdeen did, nor oftener." Aberdeen indeed endured a long persecution, but it did not learn mercy, which persecution never teaches, save to natures of noblest calibre. On the whole, in those days, Aberdeen was Royalist and Prelatic, though its Presbyterianism was of the stiffest sort. Aberdeen showed no toleration for anything that was not after one of its few set patterns in ritual and politics. It was wholly unable to understand the "Quakers" when their preaching began in 1662. It straightway proceeded to prevent such people from "harbouring" within it, by issuing a municipal mandate, withholding all "lodging and furtherance" from "Jesuits, Priests, Quakers, and other trafficking strangers." Yet from all we can gather, the Society of Friends were particularly well represented in Aberdeen, showing but few of those extravagances and vagaries which in some places had tended to bring them into discredit, and to bewilder outsiders. Though Barclay of Ury - a scion of a great county family - startled Aberdeen by walking through it in sackcloth and ashes, he was a man of proved learning and ability, who had allied himself to the newest sect, because in Calvinists and Catholics alike he had found "an absence of the principle of love, a straightness of doctrine and a practice of persecution" which offended his idea of Christianity. Barclay was frequently imprisoned and publicly insulted. On one such occasion he remarked to a sympathiser:
Another prominent Aberdeen man who joined the Quakers was Alexander Jaffray, the husband of Andrew Cant's daughter. He had been a Presbyterian, an Independent, and a 5th-Monarchy man, and had more than once been Member of Parliament and Provost of his native city. As a member of the new "Society," however, he and his colleague Skene quickly found there way to prison. It is well to remember that the prisons of those days, though sadly deficient in sanitation and decency, had some compensations in the way of free ingress and egress. Not till 1697 was an order made that prisoners "should not be allowed to go out of prison under silence of night, without finding sufficient caution to the Magistrates for their speedy return." Skene's wife, was Lillian Gillespie.
It is sad to find that as soon as the persecutions of the Aberdeen "Quakers" ceased, disunion crept among them, and diminished their forces almost to vanishing point.
The site of 'Mar's Castle', more commonly known as the 'Old Castle', which was a very strong and substantial building bearing the date 1494. In 1866 there were remains of walls on the site, but these were not strong enough to have belonged to the Castle, no trace of it survives.
It is known to have been considerably altered in the mid 19th century to form shops, houses etc. This picture shows the extent of its dilapidation. It was demolished at the beginning of 1897 to make way for street widening. Very little is known about the building. It is said to have been built by an Earl of Mar for his town lodging in the 15th century. However, when it was being demolished on account of its tumbledown state. At one time, it had a large garden and summer house at the rear.
Thomas, 9th Earl of Mar died without a male heir and the title passed to his sister Margaret, and then to his niece, Isabel, who married a son of Alexander Stewart, Wolf of Badenoch. Thereafter, the Mar earldom was annexed by James II, passing to James Stuart, natural half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots. In 1565, Queen Mary reinstated Sir John Erskine as 18th Earl of Mar. The 19th Earl was Lord Treasurer of Scotland from 1616 until 1630. The 20th Earl was appointed Governor of Edinburgh Castle; the 21st Earl, Chancellor of Scotland.
A Chimney Sweep views a poster outside H Lauder's Shop. Opposite the diagonal shopfront at the base of the Mar's Castle tenement is much simplified
We allude to Samuel Rutherford's exile in Aberdeen, where he was sent,
far from his "sweet parish of Anworth," as a punishment for his
expression of anti-prelatic opinion. He arrived in Aberdeen in 1636, and
remained there till 1638. He was not a prisoner in one sense, for he was
at large in the City, having his lodgings "in Mar Castle, a grim old pile
in the Gallowgate, the last vestiges of which have disappeared. But he
might no longer preach the Gospel, and it was very bitter to him to be thus
silenced. Though he meekly said, "Christ and I will bear it." Yet letter after
letter, written to members of his former flock, reveal his suffering. We must
quote a few expressions of its intensity, since it is a form of pain, which, in
one way or another, befalls many, and what in the end it really meant for
Rutherford, it may mean equally for any of us. He bewailed:
But if Rutherford, because he could no longer address many scores of hearers, had grudged writing to a private friend here and there, then his own life and the world at large would have been impoverished. Yet the defect would have been wholly his.
He who is content to do his best is sure to fulfil the goodwill of his Father.
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