Exorcism carried out at medieval Scottish castle

An ‘exorcism’ has been carried out at a castle owned by the descendants of one of Scotland’s most famous thread-making dynasties to banish an atmosphere of “sadness” at the 600-year-old stronghold.

Dundas Castle, in West Lothian, has a long history dating back to the early 15th century.

Its keep has served both as a home in times of peace and a fortress in times of war.

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Building was begun by James Dundas in 1416, with many additions coming over the following centuries.

Building work began on Dundas Castle in the early 1400s, with a mansion and tower added later - it currently operates as a luxury events venue

Oliver Cromwell is known to have stayed there around the time of the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, and a statue of him still stands in the grounds today.

In 1818, a later James Dundascommissioned Scottish architect William Burn to build a Tudor-Gothic-style mansion house adjoining the original keep.

During the Second World War, the castle served as the headquarters for protecting the Forth Bridge.

Its current custodians are Sir Jack and Lady Stewart-Clark, who inherited the historical property in 1995.

Lady Stewart-Clark called in her local priest to bless Dundas Castle in a bid to banbish "sad things" that had happened in the 600-year-old castle over the centuries

Sir Jack, a former politician and businessman, is the great-grandson of textile magnate and philanthropist Stewart Clark, who bought the castle back in 1899.

But when they first arrived at Dundas Castle, his wife was not impressed with its state of decay and decrepitude.

It was infested with dry rot and required major structural repairs.

“I didn’t like it at the beginning at all,” she said in an interview for the Daily Telegraph.

Sir Jack Stewart-Clark inherited the castle, which has been in his family since 1899, in a poor state of repair in the 1990s

“The atmosphere depressed me.

“A lot of sad things had happened here.”

So she enlisted the help of her local priest, who agreed to bless the castle.

She said: “It was almost as if it had to be exorcised.

“When a place hasn’t been touched for so many years there can be a certain sadness about it.”

It certainly seems like the blessing has been successful.

After a five-year refurbishment and restoration programme, the place has been operating as a five-star luxury venue for weddings and other events.

Lady Stewart-Clark took charge of revamping the interiors and is now very proud of the house.

She said: “It’s the biggest compliment when people say what a happy atmosphere it is.

“The more you put into it, the more it becomes part of yourself.”

The Clark family were Victorian industrialists who ran a thread and textile company founded in the 1750s.

It eventually merged with Scotland’s other thread firm, J&P Coats, in 1952, becoming the world’s single largest of its kind in the world -with factories in Europe, South America, India, and Pakistan.

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