The History of Leith

August 3, 2012

Drank their wine through the helmet barred

The hill on which Craigmillar Castle stands, in view of the
encroaching city—which bids fair some day to
surround it—is richly planted with young wood;
but in the immediate vicinity of the ruin some of
the old ancestral trees remain, where they have
braved the storms of centuries. Craigmillar is
remarkable as being the only family mansion in
Scotland systematically built on the principles
of fortification in use during the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries. In the centre tower, the square
donjon keep is of the earliest age of baronial architecture,
built we know not when, or by whom, and
surrounded now by an external wall, high and strong,
enclosing a considerable area, with round flanking
towers about sixty feet apart in front, to protect the
curtains between—all raised in those ages of strife
and bloodshed when our Scottish nobles—
“Carved at the meal with gloves of steel,
And drank their wine through the helmet barred.”

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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