Other Seats and Monuments
This is a very important site for the Oliphant Clan for two reasons; firstly it is where Sir William Olifard, defender of Stirling Castle is burried. Secondly it is where the mausoleum of the Chiefly Line (the Lords Oliphant and their antecedants) is located. The site of the church has been moved from its original location, at the furthest extremity of the churchyard (as the churchyard is today.) However, this area is slowly falling away into a revine. This is where the mausoleum of the Chiefs is, and within a few years it too will have fallen into the ravine. It requires urgent work in order to save this very important part of our Clans heritage. Who is responsible for maintaining it? Can it be saved? The civic authority are responsible but are probably unaware of the critical problem. Yes it can be saved but it is unlikely that the local authority (civic council) would be prepared to spend the funds required.
There was also a marble effigy of Sir William, commander of Stirling, covering the entrance to the mausoleum but once the old church had gone the effigy became extremely badly weathered. It has been moved to a recess inside the new church (which is approximately 300 years old.) The church is kept locked but the keys are kept by the minister who lives in the Manse at the top of the church drive.
Believed to have been begun by the Oliphants in the 1240's, Bothwell Castle is one of Scotlands greatest and most impressive castles. Its famous circular 'Donjon' tower was built in the 13th Century and is reguarded as the finest surviving castle for Scotland in that area. It is built of the local red sandstone and stands high over the river Clyde which flows past its base.
A view of Bothwell Castle from the inner bailey
Sir Walter Olifard, its founder, was Justicary of the Lothians. Because of his power and position, he needed a fortalise of comparable importance. It seems that not long before a similar castle had been built in France called Coucy. That Bothwell is so similar is no coincidence, King Alexander III of Scotlands mother, Marie de Coucy was sister to Engherrand de Coucy who built the great castle of Coucy in France. The Oliphant estates in the South passed through marriage to the Murray's (Walter de Moravia, from whom all titled members of the Murray Clan are descended.)
An artistic reconstruction of Bothwell Castle by Andrew Spratt.
Originally called Newton, this house and property has been owned by several branches of the family. Its name changed to Newton of Condie and finally to simply Condie as it had by then became the principle seat of the Oliphants of Condie. The original lands of Condie are up in the Ochill Hills, just beyond Forgandenny where Condie house stands.
The house was started in the mid 16th Century as a simple tower house probably built on three floors, only having one room on each floor. A stair tower was added later that Century. During the 18th and 19th centuries it was considerably extended until it became a considerable country mansion. In 1863 it was destroyed by fire, and although the lands were retained by the family until the end of the 19th century, the house was never rebuilt and is still in ruin today.
This house has also changed name over the years. Once called Culteuchar by a branch of the Oliphant family who started the original section of the building. Their heraldic date stones (two in all) still adorn the house to this day. It was sold to the Oliphants of Rossie, who lived at Rossie Ochill. The Rossie Oliphants proceded to enlarge the structure into a substantial house, not dissimilar to Gask in size.
This is the original home of the Oliphants of Rossie. As the name suggests, like the Condies original home, in the Ochill Hills. When resold in 1988, it was described by the selling agent as -
"A Truly Delightful Residential Sporting and Agricultural Estate... A lovely 17th Century Country House with 3 Reception Rooms and 7 Bedrooms..."
Kinneddar is on the outskirts of Saline in Fife. Again built by the Oliphants, and like so many others has date stones and intials of the Oliphants who owned it and built it. Although the house is intact, the park has been completely turned into a housing estates, with the best part of 100 houses surrounding it. Oliphants were living there until the end of the 19th Century, exactly when they ceased there and where their memerobilia went is unknown to us.
Special note of Arniston must be made because of it's contents. It has always been a Dundas house, but the estate was bought for the son of a second marriage of the Chief of the Dundases. This marriage was to the ex-wife of Sir Alexander Oliphant of Kellie, Katherine Oliphant, sister of the 4th Lord Oliphant. Arniston house has her portrait (circa 1670- the earliest Oliphant portrait currenly known,) a tapestry made with what is believed to be the Kellie arms on it and also a very fine Venetian glass belonging her (nearly 430 years old!) This house is open to the public.
This house also contains important Oliphant memerobilia. A member of the Rossie Oliphants, Jane, married John Hope 2nd Earl of Hopeton (they were promoted still to be Marquess of Linlithgow.) As a result her portrait was painted by Gainsborough and hangs in the dining room of Hopeton. This house is well worth a visit, and is considered one of the most magnificent palaces in Scotland.