Before transitioning into a hotel in 1959, Shieldhill Castle served as the family home to the Chancellors for well over 750 years. The Chancellors are said to be one of the oldest families in the area, having arrived from France during the Norman Conquests.
After a number of years in Shieldhill, the Chancellor family upped their roots and moved into Quothquan, a mansion house less than 1 mile to the west. In 1568, however, following the Battle of Langside, in which William Chancellor fought on behalf of Queen Mary, Regent Moray sent out a party of 500 horsemen to destroy the mansions, castles and fortalices of Mary’s adherents. Quothquan was burned to the ground during this raid and no traces of the mansion remain.
Following this loss, the Chancellor family was then forced to move back to Shieldhill, where they re-roofed the old tower, originally built in 1199, which acts as the heart of the present castle. The original form of the tower is said to have been square, with access via the round tower on the north side, which was most probably added by the Chancellors in the late 16th century. This tower served as the entrance until the tower underwent major alterations in 1820, when the more classically styled extensions were added.
The original tower-door has been preserved in its entirety, with its stone and lock removed from its original position and set in one of the faces of the old tower. Above the door is an engraved stone with shields, letters and a pinnacle shaped carving, reputedly part of an altar which had been found behind the panelling of the first floor library, which had originally been the family chapel.
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