The Murdoch Family first took an interest in Methven Castle when, in 1953, Ken Murdoch fell off his motorbike on the sharp bends below the castle en-route to see Anna his bride-to-be who was living in St Fillans and from that time, pursued a love affair with both. However, it wasn’t until March 1984 that the Murdoch Family became owners of what had then become a ruinous building.
As a consequence of neglect, dry rot had affected almost all of the floors and rafter ends and the whole of the derelict interior was stripped back to a shell of four walls. An east wing, dating to 1798 was demolished to restore as pride of place the structure built by Patrick Smythe in 1664, who two years earlier had married Ann Keith.
The demolition of the east wing revealed window openings and evidence of original harling that had not been exposed for 280 years.
During the restoration, discoveries such as mason’s marks, a bottle-nosed kitchen range dating to an earlier tower house, a Queen Ann silver shilling, an underground tunnel, stone slates & oak pegs, 400 year-old timbers from Norway numbered with Roman numerals, bell pulleys, attic bedrooms and evidence of floor levels at different heights were made.
The first phase of the restoration involved downtakings and demolitions, followed by slate and lead work to make the building wind and watertight. Grant assistance from Historic Buildings & Monuments allowed window re-instatement and harling work to proceed thereafter.
The second stage of the restoration was to create living accommodation. In doing so, many of the materials used were either salvaged or re-claimed from significant building and where possible, the castle itself.
- Georgian doors, shutters, architraves and fireplaces were salvaged
- floor joists from Dewar’s whisky bond
- maple flooring from Huntingtower bleach works
- hardwood herringbone flooring from Craigend Moncrieffe Church Hall
- organ pipes from Bo’Ness Old Kirk
- church pews from local churches
A book entitled “My loves Bonnie Strong House”, published in 2010 charts the history and restoration of Methven Castle and is available for £20.00 (inclusive of postage within the UK & NI only). All profits from the sale of the book support the work of the Perth College Development Trust Alzheimer’s Research Project.
To order your copy please call us on 01738 840016 or Email – firstname.lastname@example.org