Castle Stewart (3)
Although it looks much older, Castle Stewart was built in the early 17th century, but was evidently modeled on a much older style, in a period when very different ideas were entertained as to what constituted a suitable and commodious laird's dwelling. As well as the simple oblong plan, the antique character was maintained by finishing the walls with a parapet all the way round, projected only very slightly on plain corbels.
Various details here, become clear to the discerning eye! The lowermost level visible is the second floor, the level above the first floor Hall. The lowermost floor contained a low ceilinged room, which had no fireplace and was therefore presumably a store room, not a kitchen.
The second floor, the lowermost level shown in this photo, would normally have been the private quarters of the laird's family. The left jamb of the fireplace can be seen near the bottom centre of the photo, and parts of the other jamb to the right. All but a small section of the lintel has gone. The large opening over to the left (west), with the slipping key-stone, is a window recess and judging by the section of dressed stone within the walling, there was another in the east wall. The smaller opening, rebated for a door, was a wall chamber or perhaps a garderobe. There are two corbel stones sticking out of the wall above the fireplace, which are too low to support the floor of the next level up, and I guess must have supported a stone hood over the fireplace.
There are two more corbel stones above the aforementioned pair, which did support the third floor, the line of which can also be seen cut into the west wall. The fireplace at this level is also visible in the west wall. MacGibbon & Ross, whose view of the castle was obscured by ivy in 1889, wrote the following:
"On the third floor, on the west side, the lintel of a very large fireplace (8 feet to 10 feet wide) appears in good preservation, forming an example of a straight arch in four stones, and a key-stone, checked to prevent slipping, which still hangs amid the ivy as if in mid-air. Above this lintel there runs a moulded cornice, decorated with good-sized dog-teeth ornamentation. This is the only piece of decorative work traceable in the building, which, however, is completely obscured, both inside and outside, with a dense covering of ivy, concealing all further details."
That fireplace has now completely gone (or been removed) except for one small section of the right jamb, with a piece of the lintel sitting on it, sticking out "as if in mid air".