Balnagowan Castle

[Crest of Clansfolk of Clan Ross] Crest of Clansfolk of Clan Ross
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   Gaelic name: Ros, Rois 
                (placename in Ross-shire)
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Balnagowan Castle, in the Parish of Kilmuir, was the seat of the chiefs of Clan Ross from early times until their line came to an end in the person of David, 13th Chief. It was probably built in the 15th century, the west tower, with its high pointed roof and turrets, being the oldest part. David, who was particularly interested in architecture, rebuilt the main portion and also added to it about the end of the 17th century. Since his time, the Castle has been repaired, and in 1838 the east tower was built in harmony with the older parts. In the course of these repairs, a recess was discovered in one of the walls of the dining room. The walls of the recess were covered with drawings of figures in the military garb of the 15th century. In one of the rooms in the portion built by David, there is a lintel above the fireplace, on which are shown three circles. Above the middle circle are the letters: A-M-M-F. Below the circle are the words: SOLI-DEO-GLORIA (To God alone be the glory). Inside the circle is a minister, in a Geneva hat, gown and bands, holding an open Bible, on which is inscribed the words:

Around the ministerial figure are the words:
SERVIRE-DEUM-EST-REG-NARE (To serve God is to rule)

Underneath are the initials: M-H-M-E-R

In the other circles are escutcheons, one of which bears the motto:
NOBILIS-EST-IRA-LEONIS (Noble is the wrath of the lion)

The date is 1680, probably the date of the building of this part of the Castle by Chief David. Balnagown is a magnificent example of the old Baronial Castles of Scotland. It is finely situated on the banks of the Balnagown River.

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