Venlaw Castle was originally a 14th century fortification founded by Clan Hay. The early house was built on the site of the old Smithfield Castle in 1782 and enlarged in 1854.
|Venlaw Castle Hotel|
The ‘house’ is considered to be an excellent example of the Scottish Baronial style and is set within extensive grounds – however in 1949 it became a hotel.
The interesting part here is that the owners, the Cummings, could not afford to pay the “development tax” levied on people turning a private house into a business.
|The library in the turret, much as|
it was when it was built
However the Cummings successfully fought to have the tax abolished, and their success is recorded in Hansard.
Hansard is the name of the printed transcripts of parliamentary debates in the Westminster system of government, and is named after Thomas Curson Hansard (1776 – 1833), an early printer and publisher.
|Venlaw Castle Hotel -|
The hotel opened in 1949 and remained in the Cummings family until it was sold in 1997.
Venlaw Castle may now be a hotel, but the Clan Hays continue on ... the Scottish clan has played and continues to play an important part in the history and politics of Scotland.
Clan Hay descends from the Norman family of de la Haye – with evidence, based largely on heraldry, being presented that the Scottish Hays were descended from the La Haye’s of the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy.
|Slains Pursuivant, Peter Drummond-|
Murray of Mastrick, is the private
officer of arms of the Chief of
Clan Hay (see Wiki)
One of the Hay tartans as recorded in the Vestiarium Scoticum – and with a name like that ... apparently it is “probably the most controversial costume book ever written”.
The book itself purported to be a reproduction, with colour illustrations, of an ancient manuscript on the clan tartans of Scottish families – but shortly after its publication it was denounced as a forgery ... and to this day it is accepted that the Vestiarium is not what it claimed to be.
|Hay Tartan taken from the|
That is V is for Venlaw Castle Hotel as it is now and the dubious Vestiarium Scoticum giving us a peek into Scottish history, the realisation of the importance of heraldry, together with the knowledge that the British Parliamentary record system is very robust ... part of the ABC series of Aspects of British Castles.
Bob Scotney featured Uffington Castle, Berkshire yesterday
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