Castles from Scotland - painting of Meggernie Castle
The original painting was created in 1830 by the British artist John Preston Neale. It gives a unique snapshot of how the castle looked at that time. Although seven years before she took to the throne it is a classic Victorian scene, light and airy, showing couples leisurely strolling through the estate.
I have faithfully reproduced this with my own oil painting.
North of Loch Tay is a lovely secluded valley cut into the mountains by the River Lyon on it's journey to the sea. The beautiful Glen Lyon is about 35 miles long and surrounded by peaks over 3,500 feet in height.
In the early 12th to 13th century the MacGregor clan called this place home. They lived and thrived in a strip of land from here to Loch Awe, which is fifty miles to the west, and from there down as far as the top of Loch Lomond.
The location of Meggernie Castle itself is central in the glen and chosen as the rallying point for the area. It was here the MacGregors would have built their stronghold, a keep, for defence.
In the earlier years most of the Clan MacGregor lived on the western side as the area was more productive. However due to persecution from the Campbell's and Stewart's and also a bit of bad luck the clan lost their lands around Loch Awe and had to withdraw east into Glen Lyon.
In 1371 King David 2nd died and the new King Robert 2nd took the throne. He was the first from the House of Stewart and things that were already bad were going to get worse. He confiscated the clan's keep and gave it as a present to his illegitimate son Sir John Stewart of Cardney.
In 1603 King James 6th gave Meggernie to Duncan Campbell of Glen Lyon. It stayed with the Campbell's until 1689 in which time they built the tower and slated the roof. The walls were five foot thick and it stood five stories high. The last Campbell, a captain Robert Campbell of Glen Lyon
was forced to sell to pay towards debts he owed. He was the officer in charge, six years later, at the Massacre of Glencoe where his troop slaughtered a family group from the sept of the MacDonald clan from whom they had been receiving hospitality.
The castle ended up in the hands of the Menzies of Culdare. Through the years they added on further buildings and in 1730 started planting out the estate that surrounds it.
In the 1745 rebellion Jacobite forces were garrisoned here. The castle remained with the Menzies for nearly 200 years until in 1883 it changed owners again.
The new owner, a textile millionaire, John Bulloch bought the fifty square mile estate and twenty seven bedroom castle
but it didn't remain with that family for long and forty years later was further sold on to the Wills family who earned their money through tobacco sales.