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The Stornoway Castle Wicker Woman At Night, Isle Of Lewis, Western Isles Scotland UK

The Stornoway Castle Wicker Woman At Night, Isle Of Lewis, Western Isles Scotland UK
Lews Castle (Scottish Gaelic: Caisteal Leòdhais) is a Victorian era castle located west of the town of Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland. The name Stornoway (Scottish Gaelic-'Steornabhagh') derives from 'Sjornavagr', the Old Norse for 'steering bay'. Stornoway has been settled since at least Viking times although there is archaeological evidence of Neolithic activity in the near vicinity of the town.

King James VI granted ownership of Lewis to the Mackenzies of Kintail in 1610. By about 1680, Lord Seaforth had established his estate house, Seaforth Lodge, on the Gearraidh Chruaidh, an area of rough sheiling ground on the west side of Stornoway harbour. Parts of this original building can still be seen within the stripped out walls of the mezzanine at the rear of the present Castle.

The castle was built in the years 1847-57 as a country house for Sir James Matheson who had bought the whole island a few years previously with his fortune from the Chinese Opium trade. It was designed by the Glasgow architect Charles Wilson.

In 1918, the Lewis estate including the castle was bought by soap industrialist Lord Leverhulme from the Matheson family. He gifted the castle to the people of Stornoway parish in 1923.

During World War II the Castle was taken over as accommodation for air and ground crew of 700 Naval Air Squadron, who operated a detachment of six Supermarine Walrus aircraft from a slipway at Cuddy Point in the Grounds. The base was referred to as HMS Mentor. It was also used for accommodation for students of Lews Castle College in the 1950s.

Today the building is owned by the local council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CNES) and is category A listed building.

The rather spooky wicker woman in the grounds of the castle (castle green) was created in July 2010 at the time of the Hebridean Celtic Festival.

Many thanks to Dena & Catriona for providing company and transport 8-)


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