The Village of Chryston - North Lanarkshire - Scotland
EXTERNALLY One sees Bedlay Castle first when taking the curve in the approach drive from the South which terminates in a wide sweep which leads to the main door in the square tower. The door is squat and low and this squatness is accentuated by the simple mouldings which surround the door. A reminder of the older days is to be found over the East window of the hall in the shape of the Coat of Arms of Roberton of Bedlay within a moulded panel. Robertson Coat-of-Arms Even though one can distinguish where the Robertson addition occurs it is nevertheless apparent that an attempt had been made to gain architectural unity by the lining up of the window lines between the window in the Western room in the South elevation and the 3 existing windows in the original building. The strange fact now emerges that these windows are irregular in size and one is forced to believe that they must have been constructed at different times. A certain delicacy and definition obtains in the 3 windows of the original part where a roll moulding is found round the jamb face of each window. This embellishment does not appear on the window adjoining in the Roberton addition. It does not take much observation to appreciate that the best view of Bedlay would be obtained from the Eastern approach where the slated roof to the square tower forms a pleasing apex to the composition of the mass and the falling away ground line to the North side. The addition of the "Bathroom block" unfortunately upsets the proportion of this elevation but one really is not aware of this addition by virtue of the positions of both approach avenues and the position of the trees. An interesting feature of the tower is the fact that there are still two 'blind windows'. All the lights in the tower were removed when window tax was levied. Mr. Christie had these windows replaced in new glass. Generally, the grey harled surface of the Castle is streaked and discoloured in patches by rain and weathering through time but this could be remedied fairly simply. The stonework is still in good condition. East End Elevation Regarding the 'marrying' of the old building and the Roberton addition, it should be mentioned that apart from the lining up of the windows in the South elevation no other effort has been made in this respect, but with the assistance of time a pleasing effect has resulted. The Western elevation is fairly simple and as near symmetrical as need be, with the 2nd floor tower windows harmoniously placed in arrangement with the central 1st floor window. A crow-stepped gable rises up in the centre of the composition to a chimney stack and, rising up from the extreme edge of the stone dyke, this is perhaps the simplest elevation of the four. It will be noticed that the Western window in the square tower is rendered ineffective by the advent of the Roberton West stair. From the sketch it will be seen that the elevation to the North shows most dramatically the march of time and its consequential whimsicalities, for one is now face to face with the realities of the various additions. Certainly a problem is present in the nature of the steep fall away and the natural rock outcrop below ground floor. Nevertheless, it seems that a grander scale might have resulted in, at least, a little consideration to fenestration and relationship of solid to void. Roof levels, too, seem to jump about with rare abandon and tend to echo the various additions rather too clearly. Outcrop of Rock The afore-mentioned natural rock outcrop occurs almost at the base of the Northernmost Western tower and projects from a built up plinth course which carries a rather unnecessary mould line of 'egg and dart' pattern with cover beading surmounting. This plinth block seems to have been built by some previous owner of Bedlay in order to give the existing rock a 'finished appearance'. One cannot help thinking that the original and more natural effect with the rocks built in to the base of the Castle might have been the better solution. The balustrade mentioned in the introduction beguiles the stranger into anticipating a more flambuoyant and characteristically lighter edifice than that with which one is confronted. However, this balustrade is pleasantly in harmony with the shrubbery which surrounds it and gives a romantic touch to an otherwise solid front.
Bedlay Castle Chryston
An Architectural visit to this 17th Century Mansion
Sketch of Balustrade