Saturday, December 08, 2007

A small ePIC. Part 2 of 3.

A small ePIC by Sans Pantaloons. My response to a meme set by Julia.
If you are a repeat visitor to this post, and have previously read the comments, you will know that mintybob, advised that original stone pillars from the Hamilton Estate were situated along Bothwell Road.
It has taken me quite a while, but I have managed to somewhat document these pillars / gateposts / gatepiers in the update to this post, unfortunately located at the bottom.
My thanks are extended to mintybob for this valuable information.
If you wish to jump directly to the update, click here.

I apologise for the overly historical content of these posts. I'm treating this as I would any work project; first understand the history of what has gone before, so that you can learn not to repeat past mistakes.
This is tending to be a journey of seeking understanding. I hope you will continue with me on this journey.

I'm not sure why doing this has affected me so. I alluded earlier that I felt ashamed. Maybe that is it, that I was ignorant of this story of the Covenanters and the Palace. I have literally walked past the Covenanters graves and the site of the Palace nearly every day for five years, blissfully unaware, consumed in my own self important thoughts.

Ashamed really doesn't nearly half cover how I feel.

Being an Engineer, this sort of 'real' history is foreign to me. It still is and probably always will be, but at least I now know this: After doing this research the most humbling thing I have found, is that I know nothing.

The Rise of the Hamiltons.
Although the Hamiltons have always had land and power, their success seems to have been cemented around 1473, when James Hamilton; 1st Lord Hamilton, married Princess Mary Stewart of Scotland, the daughter of King James II.

King James III , brother of Princess Mary was King at the time of their marriage and having the King as a brother in law seems to have been a good move.

Another beneficial event was the marriage of William Douglas, Earl of Selkirk to 'The Good Dutchess' Anne, 3rd Dutchess of Hamilton in 1656 thus uniting the two powerful families of Douglas and Hamilton, creating the Douglas-Hamiltons.

At Anne's petition, King Charles II 1660-1685, made William the 3rd Duke of Hamilton. There are many branches of the Hamilton family, but I'm going to centre on the Douglas-Hamilton line through which the Ducal title passes.

Dukedoms of Brandon and Châtelherault.
Not truly important, but may answer questions later on.

James Hamilton; 2nd Earl of Arran 1518-1575, the great grandson of James II of Scotland, was made Duke of Châtelherault by King Henry II of France for consenting to the marriage of the then six year old Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, to the French Dauphin, later King Francis II of France, some ten years later in 1558. However, he turned against the Queen in 1559, and his French estates and title were confiscated.

Sans Note: James seems to be a favourite name in this family.

Further down the family line, James, 4th Duke of Hamilton and 1st Duke of Brandon 1658-1712, seems to have picked up the Duke of Brandon (Brandon being a town parish in the English county of Suffolk) title in 1711, and Baron Dutton (Dutton in The English county of Chesire) in 1712, seemingly to enable him to take a seat in the House of Lords in England.

Although subject to much dispute regarding the site of Cadzow Castle, where King David I (1124-1153), and Robert the Bruce (1306-1329), were known to have stayed, Hamilton Palace construction was said to be started on the site occupied by the building known as 'The Orchard'.

It was built in the late 16th century and added to and enhanced largely between 1684 and 1701 at the hands of William, the 3rd Duke (1634-94) and his wife, Anne, Duchess of Hamilton (1632-1716). It was part of what the family dubbed the 'Great Design'.

Anne's grandson James, the 5th Duke of Hamilton (1702-1743) also added to the Palace, esp the addition of Chatelherault, the Hunting Lodge. Between 1822 and 1828 the north front of Hamilton Palace was massively enlarged and enhanced by Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton (1767-1852) working in collaboration with the distinguished Glasgow architect, David Hamilton (1768-1843), whose design represented an interpretation of the 1819 drawings of the Neapolitan architect Francesco Saponieri.

The object here is to arrive at Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton 1767-1852, with some prior knowledge as to his belief of his place in history. I say this so that we don't jump to assumptions regarding what is to follow, but give the gentleman fair hearing.

Alexander Hamilton, 10th Duke of Hamilton, 7th Duke of Brandon, born in London, England, was educated at Harow School, and then Oxford University.
Alexander was obviously a complicated fellow. He graduated Oxford with an MA degree in 1789 and then spend some years in Continental travel until 1801 when he returned to the UK to become a Member of Parliament. In 1806 he was appointed as Ambassador to Russia and Poland and stayed there for two years returning in 1808.
Alexander was certainly a dandy. He is reputed to have kept a leopard as a pet, and had a great interest in Egyptology and spent some of his later years as a trustee for the British Museum.
He was also descended from Royality; James, 2nd Earl of Arran 1518 - 1575, was for many years heir presumptive to the Scottish throne, for he was a descendant of James I.

Had Mary, Queen of Scots died before the birth of her son James VI, Arran would have succeeded her on the throne. Alexander had an unquestioning self belief about his place in history. Whatever you think about his grand ideas, he certainly used his substantial funds to live his life on a large scale.
Alexander married Susan Euphemia Beckford 1786-1859, the daughter of William Thomas Beckford 1760-1844, in 1810 when Alexander was 43 years old, and his bride Susan was 24. His Father in law, William Beckford as heir to a sugar forture, was a millionaire , 7 years older than Alexander and it seems they shared common interests in art and egyptology. I'm pretty sure they would have been friends as well as Son/Father in law.

Upon his succession to the ducal title and estates in 1819, Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton (1767-1852), then aged 51, lost no time in reviving the 'Great Design' plans to enhance and enlarge the north front of Hamilton Palace, a scheme which had lain dormant since the time of the 5th Duke in the 1730s. His aim was to erect a grand residence which not only reflected the increasing wealth and national standing of the family but also provided an appropriately grand setting for the considerable art collections which he continued to gather and inherit.
Duke Alexander and David Hamilton, Glasgow's leading architect of the time, produced additions to the building, realising what is shown below. These pictures below dated 1919.

Hamilton Palace was one of the greatest palaces in all of Europe. Many said it was second only to the great palace of Versailles in France, on which it was partly modeled. It had wonderful gardens and a magnificent tree lined avenue that was 3 miles (5km) long.

The graphic above is a facsimile of the Palace and avenue overlaid on a satellite image. The red rectangle is the overlay component, the Palace is circled in red, Chatelherault hunting lodge is circled in yellow and the Mausoleum is circled in blue. All will become clear as we progress through the post. This is just to give an impression of the scale of the avenue. Please click for maximum clarity.
The avenue was designed, so it seems, to allow the ladies of the court to participate in hunts. The gentlemen would ride on horseback, chasing their prey from one end of the avenue, while the ladies would ride in the comfort of a carriage along the avenue, and able to see the hunt in progress.

If one wants to go hunting, the most obvious place to start would be ones hunting lodge. This thought must have occurred to James, the 5th Duke of Hamilton, for he engaged William Adam to design Chatelherault Hunting Lodge at the south end of the avenue 1n 1732. Adam was also designing plans to improve the Palace at this time and building the Old Parish Church. Chatelherault hunting lodge, finished around 1744, was evidently sited on the great avenue at a point of optimum inter-visibility with Hamilton Palace.The main north front is almost 90m in overall length and is wrought in orange-red sandstone. It consists of two pairs of three-storeyed pavilions linked by a long screen-wall with deeply scalloped parapets, and is backed by courtyards and gardens. see aerial view below.

The ducal apartments were contained in the western (right) group of pavilions, behind which there is a restored parterre (ornamental garden) and surrounding terrace. Behind the servants' quarters and stables in the eastern pavilions is a kennel yard (now roofed over), and the flanking terrace has an earthwork 'mount' or viewing platform.

It was completely by chance that this building was saved. After Hamilton Palace was demolished, Chatelherault was effectivelty left to fall derelict. The ground to the front was used as a sand quarry, and this under-mined the building. The story is told of the death of the night-watchman who looked after the security of the building. With no replacement, Chatelherault was vandalised and set on fire thus becoming a ruin with it's structure under threat. The quarrying was halted in the 1970s, following the death of the 14th Duke.The High and Low parks of Hamilton including Chatelherault, were given to the Scotland Office in lieu of death duties.

Above we see the hunting lodge being restored. Historic Scotland renovated the lodge in the 1980s, including the fine Georgian plasterwork, and a visitor centre was built to the rear.The lodge is now part of a country park, along with Cadzow Castle and Barncluith House, managed by South Lanarkshire Council.
I have not yet visited Chatelherault and Cadzow Castle ruin. Now that I am hooked, that will be another field trip.

To continue the description of Hamilton Palace, inside, the Palace was replete with marble. Alexander loved black Irish marble. The state-rooms, which included sumptuous stucco-work, were by Smith (1690s) and William Adam in the 1740s. These held much fine furniture and by the mid-19th Century, housed the best collection of paintings in Scotland. Outside, the gardens were superb.

These glass plate photographs of the terraced garden and ornamental fountain dated 1887.
Hamilton Palace was magnificent, at least in terms of the artwork and lavish decoration, including items of furniture Alexander bought for his wife, Susan, many of which had belonged to Queen Marie-Antoinette of France 1755-1793.

The Commode (chest of drawers) above by Jean-Henri Riesener. Most of Alexander's acquisitions were moved around the palace as building work and decoration progressed, but the secretaire and commode stayed in the Duchess's Sitting Room. They are recorded there in the 1830s inventory as: 'A Very handsome Chest of Drawers, French work Gilt Bronze ornaments, and top of Marble which belonged to Maria Antonette Queen of France.

Writing table by Jean-Henri Riesener.
This exquisite writing table was supplied in 1782 for Queen Marie-Antoinette's 'boudoir de la Méridienne' at Versailles, and has marquetry and realistic, jewel-like mounts of the very highest quality. The gilding alone, by Remond, cost 1,050 livres.
An inventory mark records that the piece was subsequently in the Petit Trianon.
During the last years of the 10th Duke of Hamilton's life, the writing table was definitely in the Duchess's Sitting Room, along with the secretaire and commode now in the Frick Collection.
Jean-Henri Riesener created many of his best pieces for Queen Marie-Antoinette of France.

Above shows the interior of one of the bedrooms, and below the Palace Entrance hall.

All this grandeur, all this splendour, all this hard work by countless craftswomen, artisans, artists and craftsmen has come to nought. It is gone. All Gone. Demolished. Bulldozed back into the earth from whence it came.

Much of the reported history on Hamilton Palace attribute it's demise to subsidence caused by the mineworking underneath Lanarkshire.That is true. What most don't report, is that the demise was deliberate.

SANS NOTE:One of the interesting things to come from my searching, is finding out Susan Beckford, the wife of the 10th Duke, was an accomplished piano player, and that she invited Chopin to play at Hamilton Palace. Is this any claim to fame, that I have possibly walked the same ground as Chopin? I can play chopsticks, does that count?

Here is me, standing in what I believe to be the West Wing court, although now it is the grounds of Hamilton Palace Sports Ground. The two pictures below show a satellite image of where I'm standing, circled in red, and the next overlaid with a facsimile of the palace.

If you have stayed with me so far, thank you. Coffee would be a good idea, as we are only half way through this post. I am nothing if not blogbose.

I have attempted to create a timeline in order to better understand the chain of events which lead to the demise of the Palace.

Upon his death in in 1852, the 10th Duke estates passed to his son, William, who was 41 at the time. I don't know how much Death Duty he had to pay to the Crown, but in 1853 he sold his Lancashire Estates for £329,800. William also had a son called William, born in 1845, so was 8 years old when his grandfather Alexander died.
William, now the 11th Duke, lived in Paris France, and was not much interested in British politics. He died in 1863, aged 52. The Ducal estates pass to his son William, now 19 years old. What does one do when one inherits a great deal of wealth and land at 19?

Exactly, one becomes an idle layabout and a gambler. Maybe that is unfair. Hamilton Palace is gone, maybe that is unfair too.

The snippets I can find tell of William the 12th Duke in 1867, now 23, close to financial ruin from gambling debts when his racehorse Cortol Vin, wins the Engish Grand National race, winning him £16,000 from the bookmakers plus prize money. He marries in 1873 aged 29. The next we hear is of a sale of the contents of Hamilton Palace in 1882. Many of the the books, pictures, artworks and furniture collected by his Grandfather and his family before him, were to be sold at Christies in London. The sale lasted 17 days and netted £400,000.

Above showing the sale catalogue for the 1882 sale.

Giving William some benefit of the doubt, Paying for the upkeep of a Palace, must be prohibitive. And if you don't actually live there, doubly so.

In 1884, William sells more of the 'Beckford Library', the books collected by William Beckford, and merged into the library of Alexander, the 10th Duke. Also in 1884, Hamilton Palace Colliery was opened by the Bent Colliery Co. Ltd, having obtained a lease of mineral rights on the Duke of Hamilton's estates at Bothwellhaugh, between Hamilton and Motherwell. These estates were not close enough to the Palace to cause any undermining problems. A pit was sunk and coal extraction begun. In 1889 the rights to the coal beneath the Hamilton low parks was leased by the Duke, and this would undoubtedly imperil the Palace and the Mausoleum. It was agreed that the method for extraction would leave 'stoops' of coal, effectively pillars between the seams of coal to support the Palace above.

Four years later, in 1893, William establishes a trust, trying it seems, to secure his debts and provide something for his daughters future. His daughter, born in 1884, is now 9 years old. The trustees were given power, in their sole discretion, 'to entirely displenish and dismantle Hamilton Palace' (no longer used by the duke as a residence) 'and take down and remove the building or allow the same to fall into disuse'. I'm unsure for how long William had been expecting his demise, or whether this episode contributed to that demise, but he died two years later in 1895. He had contacted his distant cousin and heir, Alfred Douglas-Hamilton in 1888, and persuaded him to leave his Navy career, which Alfred did. It is unknown to me if Alfred played any part in the leasing of the mineral rights, but I think this unlikely. Alfred seems to be the good guy in this sorry tale, trying to do right by the family.

Alfred then, in 1895, becomes the 13th Duke of Hamilton, and inherits debts of £1million. It takes him 13 years to pay off these debts. We are now in 1908. The debts are paid off. Hamilton Palace is still standing and is used as a setting for a garden party to celebrate the coronation of George V in 1911. The Hamilton Palace Colliery employed over 1000 people and continued to reap the wealth of coal below.

In 1914 we have a dire circumstance for the planet. World War I. The need for coal to smelt iron ore, and as fuel for steam locomotives, and engines to power manufacturing and transport is much in demand. The Palace is lent out as a Naval Hospital by Alfred the 13th Duke.

In 1915, the trust set up by William, the 12th Duke, leases the rights to the stoops of coal under the Palace to the Hamilton Palace Colliery. The Trustees are advised that the workings would damage and might ultimately destroy the fabric of the palace.

It seems Alfred did not like this turn of events, and tried to get the colliery to quit their lease, which they did not. There must have been a lot of wrangling, because a private Act of Parliament was passed in 1918 specifically to deal with the management of the estates of the 12th Duke by splitting the existing trust into two, replacing the existing trustees. One of the new trustees for the Hamilton Estate was the wife of the 13th Duke.

And here we have our dichotomy, the preservation of magnificent glory in the art of a building, or the bread, butter and living of 1500 mining family members. You choose.

If Blogging tells us anything, it is that community is King.

Women coal sorters. These Ladies sorted the coal brought up from the pits. This picture dated 1925.

Hamilton Palace Colliery supported a community of miners and their families at Bothwellhaugh, which is now itself gone, drowned beneath the waters of development. A former member of this community who was born at 3 Clyde Place has memories of his story that can be found here

In 1952, Hamilton Palace Colliery, Lanarkshire, claimed to have the oldest miner in Scotland on its payroll. Eighty-year old Robert McMillan, Bothwellhaugh, had been employed at the colliery since it opened in 1884.

But, the need for coal was greater than the need for a large Palace, and when the Palace was handed back in 1919 after the war ended, it's fate was sealed, under-mined in every sense. It was in June 1919 that the New Trustees of the late 12th Duke of Hamilton presented a Petition to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, seeking authority to sell the fabric and contents of Hamilton Palace, which was part of the estate held by them in trust. Another sale of the remaining contents was held, including fixtures and fittings. Whole rooms including panelling and contents were sold to many overseas buyers including William Randolph Hearst.

Sale catalogues from the 1919 sale.

There were two of these grand black marble fireplaces in the long gallery. If any of my New York readers know of these fireplaces, please do tell. Their last known whereabouts was New York City, before vanishing, possibly to a fire sale or to Anne Altman's apartment.
The black marble staircase in the Palace entrance.

The black marble staircase has, I believe, been acquired by South Lanarkshire Council. I found out yesterday (Friday 7th) that the complete drawing room purchased by Randolph Hearst in 1921, is now in the possession of the National Museum of Scotland. The drawing room includes all panelling and a black marble fireplace. I don't know if it is the same size as the one above, probably smaller I think. There are no plans to re-assemble or display any of the pieces. I may be going to Edinburgh for another field trip.

Very few pieces of the Palace remain accessible, to me at least. Some houses are said to be built from sandstone blocks salvaged from the Palace, and a few items are on show at the Low Parks Museum. Many items are held by various museums and in private collections worldwide. Some items are housed in The Frick Collection in New York, and some paintings are in the National Gallery of Washington.
There are five sections of railing outside Hamilton College said to be from the Palace, shown below.

The railing, made in 1834, cast by Shotts Iron Co.,  is about ten feet tall and I have included me, defeated by the self-timer and sporting my winter Ernest Hemingway beard, to give some scale to the picture and some warmth to my chin.

In 1921 the Palace was sold to demolition contractors and took almost ten years to demolish completely. During that time the West Wing was converted into houses to shelter homeless mining families. After the war ended, many of the coal mines went out of business and the families who had tied houses were evicted. This UK recession was a lead in to the great depression of the 1930's.

I just think it sad that the Palace is gone. It would certainly have made a considerable tourist attraction. The final irony in this version of the story is that during the development of the Palace site in 1974, when building Strathclyde country park, the construction workers came across intact vaulted cellars.

Did these cellars belong to the original building built in 1591? We will never know.
Instead of heralding this discovery as a fantastic opportunity, they collapsed the vaulted ceilings and filled the cellars with rubble. Kick me when I'm down why don't you.

If you look carefully at the photograph above, you can see in the background something that was left by Alexander the 10th Duke. This is his Mausoleum mentioned a few times previously.

Although having subsided also, the Mausoleum still stands as a fantastic piece of architecture and history. We will talk about that in Part Three. This concludes Part 2 of this meme.

Meanwhile, if you would like further information, please visit the Hamilton Palace Virtual Reconstruction website, here. If you have quicktime installed, there is a 3D view of the Palace, which is cleverly recreated.

Update 20th Nov. 2010.

My thanks are extended to mintybob for this valuable information. Mintybob advised me via the comments, that original stone pillars from the Hamilton Estate were situated along Bothwell Road. It has taken me quite a while, but I have managed to somewhat document these pillars / gateposts / gatepiers in this update. I hope you find it interesting.

The picture above gives a satellite picture of where the pillars are situated along the Bothwell Road in Hamilton, Scotland. the pillars are circled in red, and the nearby Battle of Bothwell Bridge Covenanter Memorial, is circled in blue.
The pillars have been incorporated into the access road to the Hamilton Water Treatment Works, owned by Scottish Water.

The pillars were originally the north entrance to the Duke of Hamilton Estate, and most likely the Grand Avenue. With reference to the picture of the pillars above, the pillars shall be numbered 1 to 4, with pillar 1 being the leftmost, 2 and 3 (the inner set,) and pillar 4 the rightmost.

The north side (viewer left) is the Bothwell side, The south side (viewer right) is the Hamilton side, the east side (viewer straight ahead) the Bothwellhaugh/Strathclyde Park side, and the west side (viewer rear) the East Kilbride side.

The reference nomenclature for the files shall be, p2vfs.jpg means pillar 2, view from south.

The Pillars are about 12 feet high at their highest, this obviously diminishing as the hill climbs towards Hamilton to the south.

Above, pillars 1 and 2 viewed from the west.

Above, pillars 3 and 4 viewed from the west.

With reference to the Hamilton Estate, there are two sets of pillars, an inner set and an outer set. The outer set are slimmer, and have a mullet (the heraldic name for a star) on the north & south sides, a cinquefoil ermine facing west, and a fleur-de-lis to the east. They do not appear to have been used as gateposts.
The inner set have the same configuration, but have possibly been used to hold up substantial gates at some time. All the pillars are topped with eight carved lion head masks, two each facing north, south, east and west. Above, pillar 4 viewed from the south showing a mullet.

The British Listed Buildings website here, lists the date of construction around 1835, which would put them into the timeline of Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton, although the Grand Avenue, which presumably these entrance gates led to, dates from the time of William, the 3rd Duke, 1635-1694. Above, a detailed view of the Lions head mask carving on pillar 4, viewed from the south. 

Above, a detailed view of the cinquefoil ermine, (the animal tail surmounted by three dots), on pillar 2, viewed from the west.

The outer set of pillars have a carved top to look like a leaded roof, whild the inner set have what appears to be a pedestal with carved scrolls set into the top, possibly to accomodate another piece of sculpture or metalwork that is now missing.
I believe the mullet represents the Douglas Family, The Cinquefoil ermine (the animal tail surmounted by three dots) represents the Hamilton family, and the Fleur-de-lis the French connection, probably the Chatelherault Dukedom. Above, pillar 4 viewed from the north.

Above, pillar 3, viewed from the south,  showing the mullet, cinquefoil, and the pedestal with carved scrolls set into the top.
Above, pillar 2, viewed from the south, showing the metalwork which may have held gates at some time.
Above, another view of pillar 2, viewed from the east, showing the Fleur-de-lis.

Above, pillar 1 viewed from the south. 

Above, pillar 3 nearest, with pillar 4 behind,  viewed from the north, showing the metalwork that may have been for gates. It would seem that the ground level has risen to accomodate the new access road.  
Above, another view of pillar 3 from the east, showing a closer view of the Fleur-de-lis. 

Above, another view of pillar 2 viewed from the east, showing a closer view of the Fleur-de-lis.

Above, a view of pillar 1 from the east, showing the Fleur-de-lis.

Above, pillars 1 and 2, viewed from the south.

Above, pillar 2 viewed from the north west. One of the west facing lion head masks is missing.

Above, pillar 1 viewed from the north west.

Above, pillars 1 (nearest), 3 and 4, vied from the north. This view shows this hill rising towards Hamilton. This concludes this update.


Blogger Cooper Green said...

Bloody hell, Sans, now I'm hooked too. Thanks very much.

I'd like to know more about the "they" who concluded that it would be prudent to collapse the freshly discovered cellar walls of the palace in 1974. If they were developing a park, I have to conclude that they were under some sort of municipal or regional governmental jurisdiction. Those sorts of bodies tend to produce historical heroes at appropriate times, people who understand the value of a discovery like this. It seems a shame that no such person came forward in 1974.

Sans, I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying your pleasure in relating the history of your home. You're doing wonderful work. I'm looking forward to more. Thank you.

3:04 AM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Coop, Thank you. The only information I can find so far on the vaulted callars is the description and the picture. BUT, there is that picture, so someone considered the event important enough to document it. I can ask the local council if there is further information available; 34 years isn't too long, and with luck, someone may remember.
Part2 was meant to be longer, but I cut it short because the post file size was became unwieldly. There may be Parts3a & 3b now.
A trilogy in four parts.
I'm glad you're enjoying the history!

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Sans, if I ever visit Scotland, would you take me on a tour???

5:24 PM  
Blogger julia said...

I had to take a quick scroll through this post before heading for bed. I'm going to read it all properly tomorrow. But the photos of the palace are delectable. When you write about great country seats, you can never look at enough of these photos.

But the ones with you in them are best of all!

10:11 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

being a Hamilton by marriage, I found this fascinating! But I have 2 questions.

How come I never inhereted lands and wealth at 19??? Or 29 or 39 for that matter? I promise to have been more responsible.

Also, how does one relocate an entire drawing room?

Its such a shame to have lost some an awesome place rich in history.

5:55 AM  
Blogger julia said...

There are two kinds of people in the world, Sans. Those who love historical things, and those who are bored stiff by them. Those who work hard to preserve things for future generations, and those who tear down the old to blaze new trails for future generations.

I'm a strange hybrid of these two sorts of people. Aesthetically and storywise I'm a history gal through and through. Socio-politically, I'm a modern gal. Who hates cell phones but loves to blog. (shrug)

Anyway, what I'm getting at is the times you described during WWI and the need for employment for all of those families, versus one family already saddled with enormous debt and the prevailing contemporary view that there were altogether too many pampered palace types in the UK. Who cared if Hamilton Palace sunk into the coal pits?

Fast forward to 2007, and the answer is: WE DO. Too late. But am I reading correctly that the hunting lodge still stands? That is something, anyway.

A lot of the problems the Hamiltons faced in the 1800's are the exact storylines of many of my cousin's books. You can check those out at Julianne MacLean's website. You noticed of course that Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton had to marry the dripping-rich daughter of a sugar plantation owner in order to finance his palace and art acquisitions. My cousin's 'American Heiress' series is all about that peerage-rich-cash-poor problem which new American industrial wealth remedied so well. In fact, the entire historical romance industry pretty much revolves around the perrenial problem of aristcrats being the stewards of vast land and estates with no money to keep them. As well as the common story of a few generations down, frittering away the hard-earned estates to pay for an over-the-top lifestyle.

I'm SO glad you've posted these two parts of your Hamilton epic, Sans. All I can think of to say about your sad response to the loss of the palace is: I too wish it had made it past the 20th century after all that work, as you've commented upon. The palace was a work of art that all of us could have enjoyed. Luckily there are some surviving pieces and photos.

"Renunciation is not getting rid of the things of this world, but accepting that they pass away."
- Aitken Roshi

11:04 PM  
Blogger Special K said...

I'd planned to go to Kent on my next overseas trip - but I think that's changed to Scotland...

1:56 AM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Dick, unfortunately my time is not my own. I'm sure we could organise an itinerary for you though.

Mel, I'm sorry you have not inherited fabulous wealth. Maybe your husband is keeping a secret bank from you. I suppose the entire room is disassembled down to the masonry and put into crates. Most of these rooms had wood panelling on the walls. I don't think any ceiling plasterwork could be removed without damage, so that would have been left. It just seems such an awful waste.

Julia, I'm sure there is some truth that resentment played a part in the destruction of the Palace. The obvious poverty of many of the local populace counterpoints nicely against what can be seen as the fabulous wealth of a grand palace on their doorstep. There has to be a reason why effectively nothing remains. Unless it was all taken as souvenirs. The hunting lodge was restored albeit without the original work of master stuccoist, Thomas Clayton, which was completely destroyed. I intend to visit and take some pictures if possible. I had never considered the historical romance context of this story, but you are exactly right. Throw in a bit of time-travel and we have a block-buster movie! Nearly all the photos are from Country Life magazine, and were taken for the sale in 1919.

Special K, what can I say? I think Canterbury has vast historical riches. Plus Paris is a few hours away...

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that's okay. I'm used to people "having other things to do" when I show up. Well, maybe I'll go to England instead.
Or Hawaii.

4:41 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

simply amazing!

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, but I bet if I was Cooper, you'd all of a sudden "find time", since you both seem so close these days. Well, congratulations to the both of you. I hope you're enjoying your "time" together.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Dick, I would if it was possible. I will not make promises I cannot keep.

Teri, Thank You. It would be better if my talents included writing.

Dick, Coop and I cop no ass.

1:53 PM  
Blogger mintybob said...


Try this walk and discover a wee bit more of the palace.

park your car at the Hamilton golf range. Head towards the golf course and stay on the red ash path follow this path until you get to the opening of the nature reserve. Keep on going into the reserve and you will come to an old stone bridge cross the bridge and keep going it gets a little boggy from here but you eventually come out at the sewage works at the end of Bothwell Rd. If you look at the pillars to the sewage works you can see that these were originally part of the palace. This must have been one of the original entrances and routes taken to get to the palace itself.

Check it out.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Mintybob, Welcome and thank you for that information. I will follow your directions and take some pictures for an update post.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

MintyBob; Your directions were excellent, but unfortunately I could not get close to the sewage works. There is what appears to be a new chain link fence and a new building, picture here.
If you can confirm that the pillars are now inside the fence, I will try another route and seek permission from the works management assuming, of course, that the pillars have not been destroyed with the new building work. I did see a grey squirrel and found two golf balls, which I left on the bridge. Of course it rained all the time I was there, but as soon as I returned to work, the sun came out.

8:45 AM  
Blogger mintybob said...


It's been a wee while since I walked this route apologies about the fence. The piilars can actually be viewed from Bothwell Rd just walk past the cat and dog home and you are right next to them.

Pity you did not see any deer

10:51 AM  
Blogger SlipperyJim said...

I can testify about the vaulted cellar structures which were exposed when the excavations were begun. My friends and I used to play down in the palace grounds some 35 years ago. From memory, following the road downhill from the museum (old coach house I think)and, instead of following the bend of the road, heading straight into the palace grounds, the vaults were only twenty or so yards from the road. They were built onto solid sandstone but only about four feet high. It was too dark and low for even us to go exploring. Disturbingly, there was a shallow stream running through them, which was probably the Tanners burn which runs past the library. The people responsible for filling in would have been the council who built the playing fields and changing rooms. From memory there is a structure such as a changing room where the vaults were.

Further north towards the motorway there seemed to have been a lot of landfill rubbish exposed, so the site had been used as a tip at some point. Lots of smelly ash and melted glass!

Legend has it that the bungalows on the south side of the A74 heading out to Ferniegair were built from recyled stone from the palace. My uncle and aunt retired to one in the late 70's and they would have built about the correct time. Reputedly the stones were up to ten feet on each side and had to be split to be removed.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

SlipperyJim, welcome and thank you for this most excellent information. Your Tanners Burn, which I am calling the Cadzow Burn, is not shown on any of the old maps which I have referenced, therefore I had concluded that it had been culverted and ran underneath the original fortified structure probably since the 16th century. This to supply water for the occupants, and possibly as a sewer to remove waste. Once the Palace had been extended and enlarged, I can only assume the burn was still used as a water supply.
Is it possible the four foot structure you describe could have been the culvert?
I had thought the vaulted cellars in the picture were the remains of the original Hamilton family mausoleum underneath the old Collegiate Church to the east end of the Palace, but this turns out not to be. The rough positioning I have made would put the pictured vaults under the south-west rear quadrant of the Palace. Looking at plans of the Palace there are a number of entrance stairs leading down marked as 'Cellar'.
I'm preparing a post with all this information, and my findings and conclusions. I would like to include your comment if agreeable. If you would like to contribute any further memories I would be most obliged. Thank you once again!

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to thank you for your time and passion for telling us the powerfull story of Hamilton Palace Estate.
Let me tell you my story, I'm a student in Interior Design course at Kingston University in London and for my major project the brief was to study an example of existing long gallery. And then give a proposal for a use for the site. I fell in love with the long gallery of Hamilton Palace and all the history of hamilton estate (mausoleum, great avenue, chatelherault etc...) My proposal to create a space in memory of "a lost space" (the Palace)and to do so, I decided to design a museum for Hamilton Palace with the artefacts that Alexander 10th duke collected. I placed the gallery in ground in memory of the Palace (symbolic of demolition due to subsidence etc..) and in the great avenue between chatelheraut and the Palace because this space almost remains in its original condition. The gallery would be accessed via a long gradually ramping walkway. I hope you understood briefly my little project. I would be happy to email you the design once its finished. I'm writing to you today to know if you could help to finalized my research. I basically need a drawing or a photo of the south-west elevation of the west pavillion of Chatelherault. Now I know that i can contact the RCAHMS to order some drawings etc but it will cost me a fortune as i'm not living near by. They want to charge me 60£/hour just to find the drawing + the cost of the drawing + postage etc. I was wandering if there is any chance that you might have taken a picture or know someone that could help me to find this drawing/or photo for a raisonable price.
Im prepared to pay the cost for you to send me this document. I would be grateful if you could contact me on my email
I would like to thank you in advance for any kind help you can offer.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Lucile Airault

5:01 AM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Lucile, Thank you for your kind comments. Further reply by email.

7:17 AM  
Anonymous Kev said...

Brilliant insight and story on the Hamilton Palace and its history. Im from Motherwell and grew up next to the Strathclyde Park (Bothwellhaugh). Have you visited the Dalziel Estate? It is also linked to the Hamiltons. Keep up the good work.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Cheers Kev! No, I haven't visited the Dalziel Estate yet, but maybe I'll take your advice and pay a visit. I believe there are Japanese gardens which will be good to photograph at this time of year!

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting blog! Can you tell me where the 1782 Riesener writing table is now? Where did you find that picture of it?

11:16 AM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Anonymous, thank you for the comment. I believe the writing table is now part of the The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust,) on display at Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England.
The picture I believe, came from here.
Hope this helps.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Anonymous, a little more on the Hamilton Palace pieces at Waddesdon Manor, here.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Addendum for all:
A further note on the grand black marble fireplaces from the long gallery.
Under the Images tab, one of the fireplaces is listed for sale at Dalva Bros, New York.
I don't know when this info was posted. and I can't find any further information on their website,
but it looks like at least one of the fireplaces is alive and well.
Lang may its lum reek.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,I enjoy reading through your article post, I wanted to write a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. All the best for all your blogging efforts.

7:55 AM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Anon, thank you. I have continued my research and may do further posts when time and tide allows.

8:01 AM  

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