by Angus Macpherson of Biallid
A fine if blustery day found a substantial group of Royal Celtic Society membersdescending on the mightly Norman fortress of Dirleton in East Lothian on 9th July 2017. There we were enthralled by Andrew Spratt, Historic Scotland's Custodian of the castle, demonstrating innumerable methods whereby a medieval knight or man at arms could be snapped, smashed or skewered with a remarkable range of sharp and blunt implements, culminating in a demonstration of what happened to Englands Richard the Third on Bosworth Field. Not for the faint hearted. In contrast to the rough and tumble of medieval warfare, modern warfare seems positively surgical!
A quick tour through the remarkable fortifications built by John de Vaux in the 1220s, destroyed by Edward I, 'Haammer of the Scots', enhanced by the Halliburtons and the Ruthvens, a dastardly lot, before being destroyed again by Oliver Cromwell, 'A man with an Iron Fist', in 1663 it was bought by John Nisbet, who promptly moved out to Archerfield! His descendants set up a magnificent garden with a legendary border. Much admired by all. By now thoroughly chillde, Duck's beckoned in Aberlady, where we were joined by Andrew Spratt and hospitably entertained to fine wine and food. Despite the chill a good day was had by all.