Castle History

Comlongon Castle today is a renowned niche hotel specialising in quiet getaways and has over the past few decades built up a reputation for organising celebrations of various types, but mainly specialising in weddings. However its past has not always been so tranquil, and has been at the heart of many centuries of blood soaked border conflict and bitter dispute. It is hard to imagine that this now relaxing and peaceful location was once on the front line of one of the bitterest conflicts Britain has ever experienced.

This brief history is designed to give those who are interested a glimpse into the colourful past of the building; you cannot stay here without knowing something about the place?
I have always been fascinated with both history and castles from a very early age, and now find myself in the situation of looking after one for a number of years, until it is someone else’s turn to be the custodian.

Comlongon Castle had been up for sale in the 1970’s for many years and had not found a suitable buyer. Indeed in 1977 half of the building was demolished to make it more commercially acceptable.
It was in severe danger of being lost to the nation and was beginning to suffer from vandalism, neglect and would frankly have been lost if not taken over by my parents in 1984. Since then it has undergone extensive restoration over the last 30 years transforming it into a country house hotel.

the great hall of comlongon traditional castle wedding ceremonies2

From 1995 it has been passed to me to run, overseeing a very personal upgrading of the hotel and castle in an effort to save this incredibly important structure and to ensure its survival for future generations to enjoy and explore.

This undertaking comes at a very high cost; every penny generated goes to the restoration of the castle and estate. This work will probably never be finished as constant upgrades require a budget far in excess of that generated by being run as a hotel. However this Castle deserves to be saved, restored and to survive. It has stood defiant for centuries, lain empty for generations. Hopefully those who now pass through the place can begin to understand why its historysurvival is so important. Everyone who stays plays their own small part in ensuring Comlongon will outlast us all in such a condition that many future generations will enjoy what have created here.

To this end I have tried to gather information on its past and to illustrate how its occupants existed; if only to dispel the myths that many have about medieval times-most given to us from Hollywood films or over imaginative Victorian writers. Please click the graphic to view our the full history as digital publication.







   

 

Life at Comlongon Castle

56200716407 fullThe practice of kidnapping individuals and demanding ransom, 'the black meal' (blackmail) was a widespread activity in the Border region, generating a vast amount of wealth for the families individually engaged in such activity.

Most strongholds in the region employed groups of mercenaries known as reivers (or Raiders). These highly motivated soldiers would organise bloody Border raids to loot and kidnap, indeed to be visited by such a raiding party coined the phrase, to be bereaved. Once an individual was taken, he was dragged back to the castle, shackled and lowered through the hatch to the pit below and sealed (the shackles can still be seen on the wall of the guard room today).
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