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Department Sites & Monuments Record
Name/Title Sites and Monument Record: Callendar House (SMR 562)
Brief Description Brown and Wardrop (completed as Wardrop and Reid) 1869-77 in present external form being Francois Ier remodelling of earlier house of several dates with total frontage of 300', viz:- NW angle of main block small tower house probably late 14th century; extended to L-plan by wing running eastwards 54' linked at S gable, extended a further 88' mid 17th century and then by a further 40' to produce an approx. symmetrical 3-storey house of 182' frontage with single pile centre and double pile ends, centre of north front being recessed with octagonal stair turrets; low 2-storey L-plan wings added at ends late in 17th century to bring total frontage to 300'; Internal alterations proposed (?if executed) James Craig 1785, Internal alterations David Hamilton 1827, scheme for further additions 1830, not executed. Remodelled 1869-77, original harled surfaces and openings retained but more embellished with French architectural features carried out in coursers or ashlar, principally twin bay windows corbelled to square at 2nd floor with high French roofs, double staircase and 1st floor balcony south front, large triple stairhall block with high pavilion roof and angle turrets, single-storey entrance hall and porch with balconied platform roof north front tourelles added angles of main block, high French
roofs added over end sections of main block and wings chimneys rebuilt with diamond panels. Interior:- various dates, old staircase much renewed early in present century after fire damage, fine baroque painted ceiling, neo Greek pilastered and barrel vaulted library, small drawing room David Hamilton 1827, remainder modified or remodelled by Wardop.
Site Type building
dwelling house
tower-house
mason's mark
Site Status Listed A
Period Medieval
Post-Medieval
Georgian
Victorian
Documentation Ordnance Survey Archaeology Sheet.; Ordnance Survey; Cartographers
History and Description of Stirlingshire, Ancient and Modern. 1707.; Robert Sibbald; Author; 1892
Callendar House in 1925.; Unknown; 1995; Calatria
Ancient Castles and Mansions of Stirling Nobility.; J S Fleming; active 1902; 1902
Discovery and Excavation in Scotland; Council for Scottish Archaeology; York Buildings 1 Queen St Edinburgh
History and Description of Stirling-shire, Ancient and Modern.; Robert Sibbald; Author; 1707; 1892 reprint.
Ordnance Survey Archaeology Sheet.; Ordnance Survey; Cartographers
Stirlingshire: An Inventory of Ancient Monuments.; RCAHMS; John Sinclair House 16 Bernard Terrace Edinburgh; 1963
Falkirk and District: an illustrated guide; Mr Richard Jaques; Architect; active 2000; 2001; RIAS/Rutland Press
Antiquarian Notes and Queries.; Mr James J (jnr) Love; Woodlands Hill 23 Neilson St Falkirk; 1920s
New Statistical Account.; Geoff Bailey; Falkirk Museums Callendar House Callendar Park, Falkirk; Archaeologist; active 1984-2017
Falkirk Herald; Falkirk Herald; Falkirk Herald Office High St Falkirk; Newspaper; estab. 1845
Statutory List: Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest; Historic Scotland; Longmore House, Salisbury Place Edinburgh EH9 1SH
Documentation Notes p.348-351
"The House of Calander is a Noble Seat, with fine Buildings added to the Castle of Calander... The Calander has a large Wood adjacent to it, with Walks cut through it, and Fish Ponds near the House, and Gardens, and large Inclosures to the East and West"
[p.53-54]
CALLANDER MANSION. The Mansion House as it existed previous to the possession by the Forbes family is shewn in the sketch on page 298. It is built upon, and incorporated with, an older castle or fortalice of an extremely early date. Fragments of ruins and inscriptions, with the date 1596, are stated to be preserved near the Manse, but this must have referred to later additions. The style of architecture of this building is applicable to a period about the middle of the seventeenth century, and, as the coat of arms (shewn above), which is affixed to West Quarter Mansion, a branch of the family, and which tradition says was removed from Callander House most probably in 1783, when the Forbes family purchased it from the Commissioners of forfeited estates, bears the date 1641, either of these dates may suit the erection.
The assignment of the origin of the family name and arms of the Roman fuel provider, or Calloner, with its supposed three billets of wood, significant of his trade, for arms, is too hypothetical for serious consideration. The other explanation of the supposed billets being rolls of paper, representative of the Callander who was the royal comptroller or clerk, is more reasonable. The three billets form a distinctive part in the arms of all the Callander clan and in no other family.
The above dates correspond to the creation of James, first Earl of Callander, who was a son of Alexander, son and heir of William, Lord Livingston, for whom Queen Mary became sponsor at his baptism in Callander House, on 1st July, 1565, and who became first Earl of Linlithgow – Lord William having died prior to 1593, when Alexander succeeded to him in Callander estates and title. The families of Livingston and Callander and the town of Falkirk were always closely connected, the latter sharing in their troubles and rejoicings. The Earl of Callander was Lord of the Barony, which included the town of Falkirk, and the corporation and inhabitants were therefore his vassals. The erection of the town into a Free Burgh of Regality is embodied in the same charter granted by James VI to the said Alexander, Lord Livingston, of the baronial estates of Callander and others.
The old castle or fortalice had an historical interest. The ill-fated Queen Mary, who was in close friendship with the Livingstons (the youngest daughter of Alexander, fifth Lord, being one of the Queen’s famous four Mary’s), dined in the mansion on 12th August, 1562. She also, as referred to above, attended as sponsor, incurring great inconvenience and risk to herself, riding from Perth with 300 horsemen at early daybreak, to avoid Morton. She stayed there with Darnley, her future husband, in August following, and, subsequently, sent invitations to Lord and to Lady Livingston, who was a daughter of Malcolm, Lord Fleming, to the pageant and baptism of her son in Stirling Castle; and on 13th January, 1566, she visited her friends, with the royal infant, spending four days, on 24th of that month with them.
On 24th May, 1568, James VI orders William, Lord Livingston, who had joined the rebel Lords, to deliver up the “Castle, Tower, and Fortalice of the Calender.”
Lord Livingston bound himself with the other nobles to effect the release of Queen Mary from Loch Leven. On her escape, he welcomed her and joined her party, with all his retainers, his Falkirk vassals, who fought with great gallantry at Langside. After their defeat, he accompanied the Queen in her flight to England, and, with Lady Livingston, shared her imprisonment at Bolton, at a time when Mary’s other friends had deserted her. Lord Cecil, in reporting Mary’s conduct in prison, mentions that “the greatest person about her is Lord Livingston and the lady, his wife, and she is a fair gentlewoman.” Lady Livingston’s health was so impaired by the strict imprisonment and strain that, on Queen Mary’s change of prison, she was left ill at Rotherim, in 1570, for which the Queen expressed her concern in a letter to Lord Burleigh. Both Lord and Lady Livingston returned to Scotland before the Queen’s execution.
In a list of nobility and their reeds, sent to England, dated 1st July, 1592, Lord Livingston is described as a papist, of 61 years, and his wife, the Lord Fleming’s sister, and his residence, Calendar. From the Falkirk magazine of 1827, we quote that “in the old churchyard of Falkirk, near the figured tombstones of the old Barons of Callander, is one obscure, flat, defaced tombstone, and with the coat of arms on the dexter side is impaled a chevron-in-chief, the Fleming arms, and on it the initials W.L. are traceable.” This defaced stone is supposed to represent Lord and Lady Livingston’s grave. The other members of the noble family were buried in the south aisle of the old kirk, the tombstone being marked by four great stones, representing two knights and their ladies.
Sir Alexander married Lady Eleanor Hay, and was succeeded by their son James, of Brighouse, a castle on the Avon, who went through the Swedish wars, with some of his vassals, serving under Gustavus Adolphus, and after his return in 1633, was crated by Charles I, Lord Almond and Falkirk, in 1641. He derived the estates from his brother Alexander, Earl of Linlithgow, who, as governor of Linlithgow Palace, resided at Midhope, an old small baronial mansion. He was King’s Treasurer in 1641, joined with his vassals “the engagement,” was defeated at Witherby, and retired to the Continent. His vassals, on their return, submitted to the censure of the Kirk Session for their conduct. Cromwell excluded him from the Act of Indemnity of 1654 for this.
After the disastrous rout and retreat of the Scots from Dunbar, Charles II left a garrison in Callander House, which was then a fortified place of some strength, and Cromwell, on being obstructed, took it, and put the small garrison to the sword. Quantities of human bones were dug up in removing the old gateway on the lawn. Opposite this gateway a huge ash tree, 14 feet in diameter, grew, named the “Dule” Tree (Scotch, “grief”) or gallows’ tree, -- the rights of the Baron comprehending pit and gallows.
In 1652, General Monk repaired and resided with part of his troops in Callander House. Alexander, second Earl, signed the Covenant in 1675, when it was occupied by the Parliamentary army; and in 1678, on the soldiers again taking possession, the Falkirk vassal rose and put them to flight. The other members of the family adhered closely to the King, and, on his restoration in 1682, the Covenanter was deprived of his Sheriffship and Baronial power over the Regality of Falkirk – the latter being given in favour of the Earl of Linlithgow, and the other in Lord Erskine’s favour.
The terms of the great charter, granted by James VI, dated 13th March 1600, are “for the great care and extreme diligence and solicitude of our trusty servant, Alexander, Lord Livingstone, and Dame Helenore Hay, his spouse, in divers years past, with regard to our two legitimate daughters, by their undertaking their education in their own society, and being due them £10,000 for food and education, of them and their body servants,” etc. In addition to conferring the government of the Castle, Tower, and Fortalice of Callander on him, etc., the King erects Falkirk into a Free Burgh of Barony, with market cross, fairs, baron’s court, and a special court for administering justice. The £10,000 was payable betwixt the rising and setting of the sun at the grave of James, Earl of Morton, in the parish kirk of Edinburgh – the holding being a pair of gilt spurs, at Callander Castle, at the feast of Pentecost. As an example of the semi-barbaric powers of a feudal Baron, we further quote: “with court and issues of amerciements, herezeldes, bluidwits, and mercheta muilierum, with free forestry and its laws and casualties, with furka, fossa, sok, sak, thole, theme, infangthief, outfangthief, pit and gallows.”
The charter of Charles I, 22nd July, 1646, erected Falkirk into “one new and Free Burgh of Regality, to be called the Burgh of Falkirk.”
Staunch friends to the Stewart family, the Mansion House exercised its hospitality to Prince Charles, in September, 1745, on his way to Edinburgh. The Earl, joinig that rebellion, forfeited his title and estates, the latter being seized by the Government, and on a sale by the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates in 1784, were purchased by William Forbes, merchant in London – the charter of sale, under the great seal, in his favour being dated 20th December, 1783, and his sasine therein being recorded in the Particular Register of Sasine, 19th January, 1784. William Forbes married Margaret Macadam in 1787, and on 10th September 1788, she is infeft in a liferent annuity of £1200 – her marriage contract provision over the Barony.
Mr Forbes’ successor has completely changed the plain old mansion of the seventeenth century, and in its place there is now a palatial residence in the modern baronial style of architecture. The moat is filled up and grounds levelled so that no evidence of it and the old Castle, Tower, or Fortalice exists, beyond the great thickness of the old walls visible internally, and the springs which supplied the moat, occasionally bursting near it.
[Fleming, 293-302]
1997, p.93 aerial photo.
p.16. "a Castle... and another at the West side of the house of Calender" by which he presumably means that the old towerhouse formed the west end of the existing mansion. Traces of the gatehouse, demolished in 1651, may have been visible on the site now occupied by the mound.

p53. "The House of Calander is a Noble Seat, with fine Buildings added to the Castle of Calander, the Seat of the Calanders...The Calander has a large Wood adjacent to it, with Walks cut through it, and Fish Ponds near the House, and Gardens, and large Inclosures to the East and West:"
Callendar House (see plan on Illustration Card) consists of a central block, 182' by 50' rising to a height of three storeys and an attic, together with flanking wings two storeys high. The building incorporates work of many different periods, but the alterations and additions to the fabric have been so numerous that the complete architectural evolution of the house cannot now be traced in detail. The plan (see Illustration Card) sets out what appear to be the main stages, which may be summarised as follows:
The oldest portion of the house seems to be the NW angle of the main block, in which there may be traced the outlines of a small rectangular tower-house, perhaps of late 14th or 15th c date. To the S wall of this tower was added on E wing, which was itself subsequently extended E. These alterations presumably took place in the 15th or 16th centuries. In the mid-17th century, a programme of additions and alterations was carried out, transforming the building from a castle to a mansion. Between 1869 and 1877, further alterations were carried out to give the house its present appearance.
The lands of Callendar came into the possession of the Livingstone family in 1345-6, and were forfeited in 1715: in 1783 it was sold to William Forbes, a descendant of whom possesses it today.
Callendar House is disused. It remains in good condition.
"Callendar House. The lands of Callendar came into the hands of the Livingstone family in 1345-6 and remained in its possession for nearly four centuries (cf.p.12 Throughout this period, a castle, which constituted a principal residence of the family, appears to have stood on the site of the present house, some part of which may be as old as the 14th or 15th centuries. After the forfeiture of the Livingstones' estates, in consequence of their family's support of the Old Pretender in 1715, Callendar passed to the York Buildings Company. In 1783 it was sold to William Forbes, a descendant of whom possesses it today.
The house stands three-quarters of a mile ESE. of the centre of Falkirk, its extensively wooded policies contrasting sharply with the suburbs of the busy, industrial town that now envelop it on all sides but the S. In its present form (Pl.196) it consists of a central block, lying approximately E. and W. and measuring about 182 ft. by about 50ft. which rises to a height of three storeys and an attic, together with flanking wings which are two main storeys in height. The building incorporates work of many different periods, but the alterations and additions to the fabric have been so numerous that the complete architectural evolution of the house cannot now be traced in detail. From the late 18th century onwards a number of contemporary plans and drawings survive, and these enable the later development of the house to be followed fairly closely; evidence of earlier alterations, however, can be obtained only by an analysis of the irregular wall-thicknesses and alinements that occur within the building, and this evidence is unfortunately not conclusive. Consequently it has been found impossible to ascribe each part of the house to a particular period, and the plan (Fig.142) sets out only what appear to be the main stages in its architectural evolution.
This development may be summarised as follows. The oldest portion of the house seems to be the NW. angle of the main block, in which there may be traced the outlines of a small rectangular tower-house, perhaps of late 14th or 15th century date. To the S. wall of this tower there appears to have been added an E. wing some 54ft. in length, and this wing was itself subsequently extended eastwards for 88ft. in an addition which, on the ground floor at least, seems to have comprised a range of cellars, access to which was gained from a corridor on the N. These alterations presumably took place during the course of the 15th and 16th centuries. When the Earls of Callendar took up residence in the middle of the 17th century, however, they began a programme of additions and alterations which changed the whole character of the building, transforming it from a castle into a more or less symmetrically planned mansion, which must have been larger than any in the county. The house was once more extended eastwards, this time by about 40ft., so as to bring what had now become the main block to a total length of about 182ft. The new addition, however, was of greater width than those of the 15th and 16th centuries, and in order to make the building symmetrical the original tower at the NW, angle was itself extended eastwards to a length approximately equal to that of the new E. addition. The central portion of the facade was thus recessed, and octagonal stair-towers were erected in each of its re-entrant angles. At the same time an attempt was made to regularise the fenestration, particularly on the S. facade, where a number of roll-moulded windows were inserted.
Two further alterations seem to have taken place during the 17th century. In the first place the fenestration of the N. facade was modified, a number of windows with roll-and-fillet mouldings being inserted. Secondly, there was added to each end of the main block an L-shaped wing two main storeys in height, the E. wing also incorporating a sunk basement. An octagonal stair-turret stood in the re-entrant angle of each wing. These additions brought the building to its present length of 300ft. The appearance of the house at this period may best be judged from a plan of 1785(1) (Fig.141), which was drawn to illustrate some modifications proposed by James Craig. It is uncertain whether or not these alterations, which seem to have concerned only the interior of the house, were ever carried out. In 1830 plans for extensive alterations, and for the addition of a kitchen wing, were drawn up by David Hamilton but were not executed. Later in the 19th century, however, an ambitious scheme of alterations was carried out to give the house the appearance that it bears today. The central portion of the N. front was remodelled and a new porch and entrance-hall built. The octagonal stair-turrets, which had formed a conspicuous feature of the facade, were replaced by two scale-an-platt staircases while, in addition, a circular stair-turret was added to each angle of the main block. On the S. front two flights of stone stairs were built to give access to balconies on the first floor. The re-entrant angles of the L-shaped wings were filled in and an attic storey was added at each extremity. Finally, the upper part of the building was remodelled to give the house something of the appearance of a French chateau of the Renaissance, special attention being paid to the profile of the roof and to the ornamental detail. Most of this work was executed by Wardrop and Reid of Edinburgh between 1869 and 1877.
Of the small tower that seems to form the oldest part of the house, the N., W. and S. walls remain at ground-floor level where they average 7ft. in thickness. The N. and W. walls probably extend upwards to second-floor level, but the E. wall of the tower has been removed, probably in the 17th century, so that its original dimensions are uncertain. The E. wing that was added to the S. wall of the tower probably comprised a range of three vaulted apartments on the ground floor, of which the eastermost, now a wine-cellar, was a kitchen. This room has a segmental-headed fireplace, now blocked, in the S. wall. At the E. end of the apartment the vault is reinforced by an arch, which, at its N. end, is pierced by a small rectangular aperture, now blocked. This may have been a communication shaft as it is too small to have served as a hatch; a similar aperture exists in the kitchen at Gargunnock House (No.215). The purpose of the arch itself is uncertain; it may have been introduced to reinforce the vault during alterations to the wall above. The vaults of the two westermost apartments, which were probably cellars, have been removed. The upper floors contain no features of particular interest and the diminished wall-thicknesses suggest that there has been considerable alteration and rebuilding.
The addition by which this E. wing was itself extended eastwards apparently comprised a range of four vaulted cellars entered from a corridor on the N. Two large bay-windows were incorporated in the S. wall of the addition during the 19th century, while in the same period the N. wall was masked by the new entrance-hall and staircases. The N. wall retains its plinth, however, together with a number of late 17th-century windows with roll-and-double-fillet mouldings. The two westernmost cellars remain, together with part of the N. corridor, but only one of the cellars retains its vault. The two eastermost cellars and the E. part of the N. corridor have been remodelled to form a single large apartment, now a dining-room. In the 19th century a range of spacious apartments arranged en suite was formed on the first floor; the rich decor of these rooms exemplifies the taste of the period.
The extensive alterations made in the 17th century have already been described. The most interesting internal feature of the period that survives is the scale-and-platt stair near the SE. corner of the main block (Pl.197B). The stair has a balustrade with heavy square newels and the stair-well is panelled; some of the woodwork has been restored. Above, there is a painted plaster ceiling in the Baroque manner, which incorporates a perspective vista framed within a large oval (Pl.197A) A room in the NE. angle of the main block at first-floor level (Pl. 198) has an elaborate carved wooden fireplace surround and overmantel in the style of Grinling Gibbons, but this is understood to have been acquired within the present century. The sunk cellarage beneath the L-shaped wing at the E. end of the house contains a number of barrel-vaulted apartments, some of which have meat hooks hanging from the crown of the vault. A doorway in the E. gable, now blocked, formerly gave external access to these cellars. In the 18th century a large kitchen, rising through two storeys, was formed by the removal of a first floor; it is divided into bays by heavy pilasters which rise to support a moulded cornice above which there is a coved ceiling. In the E. wall of the kitchen there is a large elliptical-headed fireplace which retains a roasting-spit, while in the N. wall there is an oven (Pl.199A) and a hot-plate (Pl.199B), both apparently of 18th century date and remarkable for the decoration of the cast-iron fittings. This wing retains the octagonal stair in the former re-entrant angle (supra), although it is now masked by 19th-century additions. The wing at the W. end of the house does not retain its octagonal stair; it has been much altered internally and is now used as an estate office.

POLICIES. Writing in 1707, Sibbald says. "The Calander has a large Wood adjacent to it, with Walks cut through it, and Fish Ponds near the House." 1
The policies, though still well wooded, have been remodelled to confirm with later ideas of landscape gardening, a notable feature of the scheme having been the removal of a section of the Antonine Wall (No.III) in front of the mansion to provide a vista to the north. The fish-ponds of Sibbald's day may perhaps be represented by the lake that lies SE. of the mansion, from which a small canal appears. at some time, to have run westwards through the policies. About half a mile SW. of the mansion the canal-bed is spanned by a stone bridge (Pl.227c), the parapet of which is borne on cast-iron baluster-shafts.

898793 NS 87 NE 30th June 1957"
[p.348-351]
p.31-32 Callendar House, from 13th century a veritable 'Chateau-sur-Forth', concealed behind and parallel to one of the finest surviving stretches of the Antonine Wall, this extensive pile in its beautiful grounds was home to the Livingstons of Callendar for almost 400 years and to William Forbes and family who bought it in the 1780s following the failed Jacobite rising of 1715.

Concealing at west end the original 14th-century tower house, the house extends now to highly decorative and grandly symmetrical three-storey frontage of some 300ft. in length, topped by steeply pitched roofscape bristling with finialed turrets, tall grouped chimneys and ornate ironwork, the result of intensive periods of building and rebuilding, particularly during the 17th century. The 19th century saw the final embellishment and aggrandisement of what had been a large, rather plain house with the addition of a grand staircase and porte-cochere on the north, entrance front, two double-height bay windows with linking balustraded terrace and stairs on the garden front, and roof and chimney changes throughout 1869-77, Brown & Wardrop, completed as Wardrop & Reid. A set of Francois ler corner turrets completes the picture and testifies to the excellence of the French architectural tomes in William Forbes' library.

Inside, at first floor, contrasting styles of the drawing room and dining room are the main attractions, former, possibly by David Hamilton, but more likely by James Maitland Wardrop, distinguished by swagged doorcases and elegant frieze. Latter, by Wardrop, has elaborate chimneypiece and screen. Fine too are, at the west end, Cromwell Stair with painted trompe l'oeil ceiling of frolicking putti, 1704, attributed to Dutch artist Tideman, replicated by Edinburgh artist William Kay, and, at the east end, Hamilton's beautiful library of 1827-30, with trellised bronze screens and elegant wooden barrel-vaulted ceiling. Required viewing are the window of the room where, allegedly, Mary Queen of Scots stayed on her numerous visits to the house (top floor, extreme north west) and superb ground-floor kitchen, possibly the grandest that can be visited in Scotland.
In 1802 Alexander Campbell published “A Journey from Edinburgh, through parts of North Britain.”
"A little way beyond the turnpike Callendar House appears. The house itself is not an object worthy of attention but, the decorations and improvements everywhere about it are in a first-rate style."
[Volume 1]
"After the fatal battle of Dunbar, Cromwell marched to the Torwood in this neighbourhood, in pursuit of the army of Charles II. On his way he stormed and took possession of Callendar House, where the King had a garrison. The slaughter was great, and on removal of the old gates by the late proprietor, numbers of human bones were dug out, probably the remains of those who had fallen at the siege."
[p.7]

"Among these, Callendar House, the seat of William Forbes, Esq. undoubtedly holds the first place. It is in the fashion of the olden time, being remarkable for length rather than width, - of great thickness in the walls, and adorned with turrets of an antique form. It must have been built several centuries ago, but was in part modernized by the late proprietor. Viewed from the highway, it has a magnificent appearance. The situation, however, is low, and hence the prospect limited. It is well sheltered in a park containing 400 Scotch acres, of which 250 are covered with coppice-wood, mostly oak, upon ground rising gently to the south. The lawn is ornamented with trees of great size, and supposed to be 200 years old, having been planted by the Earl of Callendar on his return from the exile into which he had gone with Charles II."
[p.12]
"FALKIRK NATURAL HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY.
VISIT TO CALLENDAR HOUSE.

A Description of the Interior.
Callendar House and grounds looked beautiful in the fresh green of early summer when the members of Falkirk Natural History and Archaeological Society visited the house on Saturday. The object of the visit was to learn something of the interior and of the historical associations of the house, and the party had the honour and pleasure of the personal guidance of Mr and Mrs Forbes themselves. The visitors, who were received in the entrance hall, made a tour of the rooms of historical interest, and, after a ramble through the shrubbery and the gardens, the members of the society left extremely pleased with their visit, and with the kindness of Mr and Mrs Forbes.
By way of an indication of what came under the observation of the members of the society, we quote from a recent issue of "The Scots Pictorial" the following description of the interior of Callendar House:-
When we come to the interior of Callendar House we find ourselves in a home which is ancient, modern, beautiful, and full of comfort as well as teeming with the interest of the days of old. Besides its magnificent reception rooms, it possesses forty-seven bedrooms. We enter an outer hall or vestibule from the centre of the north front. Straight in front of us is the modern main staircase and hall. The hall is beautifully panelled in old oak, while to left and right rises the main staircase in two flights of steps, giving access to a landing which forms a gallery. The hall is furnished with old furniture, and in front of the gallery hangs a frontal bone and antlers of a prehistoric elk, black with the colouring of the bog from which it was dug many years ago in the immediate neighbourhood. The gallery is guarded by a very fine balustrade of classical design, in conformity with that of stonework which is on the outside of the house. The gallery runs round three sides of the hall, and gallery and hall are well lighted by the great windows above the porch on the north front. The only public room on the ground floor is the great dining room looking out on the south view, and not approached directly from the hall.
The dining room is of magnificent proportions, being somewhere about 100 feet long and 30 feet wide. The wall on the interior side is very thick, having been in the old days the exterior wall facing the courtyard. It is lighted by great bay windows, and can be entered directly from that front. To the west of it a charter room and strong room, vaulted and old, between the dining room and the round tower, while on the east is the state staircase. In the days before the courtyard was included in the actual building, doubtless there was an entrance to that staircase from the courtyard.
On mounting the modern grand staircase, we find that passages proceed west and east from the gallery. The gallery is adorned by several pieces of beautiful pictorial Spanish tapestry, old chairs and beautiful cabinets are numerous, and here an there we come across collections of priceless china. From the gallery, doors admit to the morning room and the drawing room, which also enter from each other. The morning room is to the east, partly over the dining room, and the drawing room is towards the west, over the dining room and the vaulted room already noticed.
A striking feature of the morning room is to be seen in two classical columns in the east end. These columns are fluted, with Corinthian capitals, and together with two pilasters support beams which, running north and south, carry a ceiling which itself is plain, but with a certain amount of classical decorations on the beams. A number of years ago the ceiling was raised, and it was then found that tree trunks, or limbs, roughly lopped, and of great age, had been used as beams. Old brocades cover the chairs, dating from 1790, but there is no reason to believe that any of the furniture dates from the days of the old possessors. The walls are oak panelled, varnished, and with the panels covered with Spanish leather. There is a fine fireplace in the north centre, the ornamental supported by artistic half figures of classical form. Among many artistic and beautiful pieces of furniture is a Chinese cabinet, brought home by one of the family who was in the old East India Company's service.
The most striking object in the room is the magnificent Raeburn which hangs on the west wall, a full-length portrait of the first Forbes who owned the house. It is very large, and the colouring is beautifully fresh and bright. The second son of the subject, when a child, slashed this painting badly with a riding crop, but was in the lifetime of Sir Henry Raeburn, and the painter was able to restore it, so that it carries no trace of the damage. On the north wall is a painting of his son William, over a fireplace. To the east of that is his son William, and on the east wall is another portrait of the same William Forbes, father of the present owner, in hunting dress and mounted, by Lutyens.
The drawing room, which may be entered from the west end of the morning room, is very large and very beautiful. The walls are covered with old brocade, buff-coloured and faded from its original peach colour, and now very soft and grateful to the eye. The curtains and draperies all match this colour, and the whole symphony of shade dates from about sixty years ago. The furniture is mostly ormolu and gilt. There are eighteen mirrors in the room, some of them dating from the old days when the Earl of Kilmarnock and his countess, a daughter of the Earl of Linlithgow and Callendar, who was attainted, occupied it as tenants.
A certain special interest attaches to the dark blue brocade with gold thread which covers the chairs. It was specially woven for the late Queen Victoria, but Her Majesty died while it was still in hand, and it remained with the makers until the year 1915, when Mrs Forbes, the wife of the present owner of the house, bought it. There was just enough to go round, with a little help from mandarin's robes.
To get to the state staircase from our present position, it is necessary to pass again through the morning room and to leave it by a door in the south-east corner. We are then in a passage which leads east directly to the old and original stairway of the house, so far as we can speak of any stair being the original in a house so old and so frequently altered. It is a very handsome staircase, lined and panelled with oak, which was originally painted, as was the bad habit of the good old days. It was when the wood was removed to have the paint scraped off that the old Roman stonework was discovered. Now the stairway stands in all its pristine beauty of the natural oak. Up and down that stair have walked Oliver Cromwell, General Monck, and many other notabilities of history; and it is a matter of interest that the lineal descendants of Oliver Cromwell still walk up and down the old oak steps, for Mrs Forbes of Callendar and her children are those lineal descendants.
From the state staircase is entered the state bedroom, which is so called partly from its position and partly from the fact that so many eminent persons have occupied it - Oliver Cromwell, Prince Charlie, General Monck and the Duchess of Gordon among them.
At the other end of the house and beyond the gallery of the modern grand staircase are the library, Mr Forbes' business room, and ten bedrooms which were used during the late war as district headquarters more than once. That wing was a very busy place, with the ticking of many typewriters going on constantly. The library is a long and narrow room, constituted by the second Forbes who owned the house. Its windows are very deep, on the first floor of the north front, running west towards the round tower. The wall there appears to be about 6 feet thick. The ceiling of the room is arched, and the room contains a very good reference library on Scottish subjects. The business room is further to the west, the walls panelled with oak from the Earlstoun estate in the south of Scotland. The wood is from one particular tree, very old, from which branches broke from time to time until there is now little or nothing of the tree left; and these panels represent the last branch which broke off.
Within the panels, all round the room, are paintings of horses, the winners of steeplechases over a series of years.
Of all the rooms in the house, the sentiment and interest of visitors inevitably turn to a few rooms almost exactly above the part just described, for these rooms are associated with the memory of Mary, Queen of Scots, and we can almost imagine that we sense her presence as we stand in them. Two of them open into each other, and above the doorway is an inscription which says - "Queen Mary of Scots and her ladies occupied these rooms and those above them. August 12th 1562; July 1st 1565; January 13th 1567; January 24th 1567; and January 29th 1567."
The arras is specially designed to concentrate the sentiment with the Scottish lion, the thistle, and the initial letter M. The illuminating pendants are in the form of a Scottish crown surmounted by a thistle decoration, and the beds and furniture are Jacobean. One of the rooms faces north and the other south, the latter having a recess in the turret in which are collected a number of objects of dressing room requirements of the most beautiful character. It is uncertain which of the two rooms actually was used as a bedroom by the Queen. That on the south has a painting of the Queen over the fireplace, a copy of one by Zuccharo, with an inscription on beneath in old French, which runs "Ayez memoire de l'ame et de l'honnour de celle qui a este votre royne."
The rooms above to which the inscription refers are not visible from the north, but appears as dormers on the south front."

[FH 28 May 1921]
“The Lady Linlithgows seising of Drumistristerig etc”) honourable Thomas Callendar servant to the Alexander, earl of Linlithgow and Lady Helenora Hay countess of Linlithgow --- [------is] Wyse in Kilbane baillie in that part for the said noble lord --- lands of Jawcraig, lands of Drumtroysterrig, lands of Thraiprig, lands of Eist Auchingaven, lands of b[-]utone, lands of West Auchingaven, lands of Littill Beame [repeated later in sasine as Littill Beime], lands of Blakfaldis, lands of Lochrig, lands of Quhytrashies, lands of Howierig, lands of Greinerig, lands of Knowis, lands of Westir Glen, lands of Bogburne, landis of Cattisclewche, lands of Halglen and Valhill, lying in the south side of the stream of Halglen --- with lesser parts of Callendare and also with the mill commonly called lie Ladyeis myln with the mill lands, multuris and lie suckin, the place of Callendare with vulgo lie jame Mains of Callendar [terrarum dominicalum] [witnesses to chart] Alexander Livingstoune of Pantaskane] [witnesses to seisine] Thomas Livingstoune of Ballintone, William Hanna minister of Falkirk, John Livingstoune officer, Robert Moreisone in Scheilhill, John Auld junior there, John Tailzeour in Drumtroiche
[1620 Register of Seisines 58/2 f.69]

DOST – jamme; an extending wing of a building

The Latin word "vulgo" is used in many charters with the literal meaning ‘common – commonly’ but in many instances makes more sense (as here) to read it as ‘in the vernacular’. The Livingstons had been out of favour prior to 1620 and this was their reinstatement. Suspect that the jame is included to give it messuage status.
"An Evening in Callendar Estate. My sister, who works in Callendar estate house, asked me to tea one evening. After tea, she showed me round the grounds. There was a lake for the swans, and the grass showing up through the water made it a beautiful scene. In the woods we heard the music of the birds, and the wild rabbits were scampering in and out of their burrows. Out in the fields the cattle and horses were grazing peacefully in the shade of the trees.
We went into the house again and up the staircase, which Oliver Cromwell used. At the top of this was a small iron figure of that famous general. There were also beautiful paintings of members of the family for many generations hanging on the wall.
We finally came to the room in which Mary Queen of Scots once stayed. The bed she slept in is still there with a beautiful crucifix above it and also the mirror she used. It is altogether a very beautiful place."
[Jean Johnston, St Francis School Magazine, December 1934]
Category: A
Group Category Details: A - See Notes
Date Added: 21/03/1960

NGR: NS 89864 79352
Coordinates: 289864, 679352
Description
Brown and Wardrop (completed as Wardrop and Reid) 1869-77. Present external form being Francois Ier remodelling of earlier house of several dates with total Frontage of 300', viz:- NW angle of main block small tower house probably late 14th century; extended to L-plan by wing running eastwards 54' linked at S gable, extended a further 88' mid 17th century and then by a further 40' to produce an approx symmetrical 3-storey house of 182' frontage with single pile centre and double pile ends, centre of north front being recessed with octagonal stair turrets; low 2-storey L-plan wings added at ends late in 17th century to bring total frontage to 300'; Internal alterations proposed (?if executed) James Craig 1785 Internal alterations David Hamilton 1827, scheme for further additions 1830, not executed. Remodelled 1869-77, original harled surfaces and openings retained but much embellished with French architectural features carried out in coursers or ashlar, principally twin bay windows corbelled to square at 2nd floor with high French roofs, double staircase and 1st floor balcony south front, large triple stairhall block with high pavilion roof and angle turrets, single-storey entrance hall and porch with balconied platform roof north front tourelles added angles of main block, high French roofs added over end sections of main block and wings chimneys rebuilt with diamond panels.

INTERIOR: various dates, old staircase much renewed early in present century after fire damage, fine baroque painted ceiling, neo Greek pilastered and barrel vaulted library, small drawing room David Hamilton 1827, remainder modified or remodelled by Wardrop.

Statement of Special Interest
A-Group comprises 'Callendar House' (HB 31236), and the associated 'Glenbrae Lodge and Gates' (HB 31235), 'Callendar House, Small Bridge on South Axis of House' (HB 31237), 'Callendar House Sundial' (HB 31238), 'Stable Court, Including Cobbled Yard' (HB 31239), 'Stable Block Including Dovecot, Cobbled Yard, Implement Shed, Boundary Walls and Gates' (HB 46544), 'Factor's House' (HB 46545), 'Dry Bridge' (HB 31240), 'Mausoleum' (HB 31241), 'Atrium House (Former Gardener's Cottage), Including Gatepiers' (HB 50224), 'Kennels' (HB 50894), 'Policy Walls' (HB 50896) and 'Wellhead' (HB 50897), see separate entries.

Empty and in poor condition (1972). The fountain on the south axis has been removed; a College of Education occupies the site of the walled garden but the walls partly remain with ball-capped gatepiers at the gateway towards the house (1972).

Callendar House and its associated buildings are the grandest and most prominent group of buildings in Falkirk. The Lands of Callendar were granted to the Livingston family in the mid-14th century, and they retained possession of the estate for nearly 400 years. The estate was forfeited to the Government after the Jacobite rising in 1715, who in turn sold on the estate. Callendar came to be bought by William Forbes in the late 18th century, a copper merchant from London, who continued to develop the mansion and the estate. It was the Forbes family who brought the celebrated architect David Hamilton to work on Callendar, and they were also instrumental benefactors to the development of Falkirk as a modern 19th century town. The estate remained in the possession of the Forbes family until 1963, when it was sold to the now defunct Falkirk Burgh Council. The Burgh Council were responsible for planning the high-rise housing within Callendar Park, and also the development of the walled garden as a College of Education (now the Callendar Business Park). However they did no work on the House, which remained derelict and boarded-up until 1997, when it was restored by the present Council.
Site Grid Ref NS 8986 7934
Site History Notes The lands of Callendar were given to the Livingstone family in 1345-46. Reference is made to 'the place of Callendare with the jame' [1620 RS58/2 f.69] [DOST – jamme (2) an extending wing of a building]
The lands were forfeited in 1715 and sold to the York Buildings Company, but rented back to the Livingston family until 1783 when the lands were sold to William Forbes. Purchased by Falkirk Town Council in 1963 (by compulsory purchase order as part of overspill arrangements for Glasgow). Falkirk Town Council decided to demolish it in 1967. 12 Dec 1970 Falkirk Herald reported further decision to demolish, however, Callendar House Conservation Committee was formed Dec 1970 and approached Secretary of State for Scotland. New planning regulations required RCAHMS listed building consent and Scottish Development Department advised against demolition. No public inquiry held.
16 October 1974 minutes of Falkirk Town Council report decision to renovate Callendar House and apply for historic building grants to do this.
Dorothy Summers and Philip Forbes were the first couple to get married in Callendar House following the renovations - on 7th April 2000.
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