The Village of Chryston - North Lanarkshire - Scotland
INTRODUCTION Bedlay Castle is situated 6-1/2 miles North-East from the centre of the City of Glasgow on the main North Road in the Parish of Cadder. The position of the Building is low and secluded overlooking a charming winding glen through the middle of which flows the Bothlin Burn on its tortuous way to Luggie Water some miles to the North-West. View on S.E.Elevation Bedlay (or Ballayn) Manor belonged to the Bishopric of Glasgow before the reign of David I and continued in the possession of the Bishops of Glasgow until 1580 when James Boyd, the titular Protestant Archbishop of Glasgow, leased the lands of Bedlay Estate to his brother Robert Boyd who was then the 4th Earl of Kilmarnock who is credited with building the oldest part of Bedlay Castle still in existence. Many alterations and additions, both internal and external, have been carried out but a great deal of the original character still remains. In 1642, James, the 8th Lord Boyd, sold the Estate of Bedlay to James Roberton, an advocate who was raised to the bench under the title Lord Bedlay. The Roberton family carried out many alterations to the Castle including the West end with the two round western towers and probably the West stair. East Tower The Castle is located on the termination of a trap dyke which runs through the countryside for quite a considerable distance. The breadth of the dyke is taken up by the building and, even before the existing pebbled terraces to the South and West of the Castle were fashioned, it is believed that the ground sloped up to the walls just as steeply as it now does on the North side. The South terrace wall is of old vintage by inspection but the balustrade was brought out from the Glasgow Central Station as a gift to the then owner, Mr. Christie, in 1870. The cleverly concealed hiding place in the southernmost West tower which is described at a later stage suggests that Bedlay Castle was being built during the troublesome times of the late 17th Century when the Covenanting Lairds around Chryston were apparently often in need of shelter. East Elevation The family of Earnock occupied the house right up until the beginning of the 19th Century when it was bought by James Campbell of Petershill. It then passed on to the son, Alexander Campbell. Under the ownership of Alexander Campbell the walls were white-washed, and as far as the author can discover the upper rooms were unused except perhaps as granaries, which statement appears to have confirmation in a recent discovery of chaff beneath the floor boards of the upper rooms. Subsequent owners had many alterations carried out but it is extremely difficult to trace actual alterations until 1850 when the father of the present proprietors, Mr. Christie, came to Bedlay inheriting the Castle through his wife whose father was Alexander Campbell. One of the many alterations carried out by Mr. Christie during his lifetime was the work done on the South-Eastern turret thus making a very marked change in the oldest part of the building. The turret which originally had a sloping slated roof was built up in a semi- circle being moulded and fashioned to frame the Christie family Coat of Arms. In the Statistical Account, a minister of the Parish of Cadder writes a chapter on Bedlay in the following style: "I mourn the current neglect of tree planting and the spoiling of some parts by mining. The Roberton family seem to have planted plenty of trees but only have 20 acres under wood." Tower on West Elevation Old prints of Bedlay Castle depict the turret as it then was in a much more suitable setting and certainly more harmonious architecturally. The new turret unfortunately lacks the modest simple character of the adjoining square tower and gable. Internally, the biggest change seems to have been from the white-washed treatment of the first floor hall to wall and ceiling wood panelling which was carried out by a local tradesman. This panelling matches up well with the existing furniture of the first floor rooms. Further alterations were carried out at the beginning of the present Century comprising a second door and two bathrooms on the North side. These alterations are scarcely visible from either approach. The main drive is from the South where the Lodge House is situated on the main road, and the great old trees which grow close to the building to the North and West overshadow the addition and screen it quite well. This is a fortunate circumstance since the North additions do not relate successfully to the main building. In the central first floor room the fireplace was replaced by Mr. Christie with one of carved white marble taken from the old Western Club in Glasgow round about 1850. An attic was constructed during the Roberton addition with a dormer window built on the East and West slopes of the main roof lighting a small room. The view from the window to the North is delightful and much more charming than that to the South. It would have been happier had the window to the South been omitted as the purpose of the classroom would have been served by the window to the North, and the roof slope to the South would thereby have benefited by the omission of the ungainly dormer to the classroom. The Entrance Lodge at Bedlay situated some 200 yards from the Castle on the Stirling Road is built of stone taken from an ancient mausoleum which had once stood in a clump of trees on the main lawn. Except for the entrance portico it was removed at the same time as the oldest divisions of the house in 1838.
Bedlay Castle Chryston
An Architectural visit to this 17th Century Mansion