David Gifford Photography

Hair and Blood

Photo: Hair and Blood

The walls of Scalloway castle with a touch of snow; the mortar in the walls reputed locally to contain the hair and blood of oppressed Shetlanders.

The castle, a fortified tower house, was built in the year 1600 for the notoriously power-hungry and cruel Earl Patrick Stewart. ‘Black Patie’, as he became known in Shetland, was arrested in 1609 and executed in 1615. At his trial it was claimed forced labour was used in the construction of his residences.

Historic Scotland explain, “‘Black Patie’ came to embody the tyranny of rule from outside Shetland, and the destruction of traditional Shetland ways.”

Adding to the macabre history, the castle’s great hall was used to hold witch trials in the 17th century, with ‘witches’ burned on nearby Gallow Hill.

More info on the Scalloway Community, Shetland Heritage, Historic Scotland, Scalloway Museum, and WhichCastle.com websites.


Image #860