Scalloway castle was commisioned by Earl Patrick Stewart and designed and built by Andrew Crawford, who also designed Muness Castle. The L-shaped tower was the main block although there would have been other domestic buildings and stores in the grounds. It stands three storeys high above a vaulted ground floor containing the kitchen and store.
enlarge The main doorway was set protectively close to the inside angle of the two arms of the building. Above the door there are three panels: one armorial panel, the second which is weathered away and the third with the inscription "Patrick Stewart Earl of Orkney and Shetland. That house whose foundation is on a rock will stand but if on sand it will fall. AD 1600"
There are circular gun loops at most of the windows and even at ground level beside the entrance. The first floor comprises the great hall which had 9 windows and two fireplaces. An account from 1701 indicates that the walls were painted with pictures. Those above contained the Earl's private rooms and chambers, reached via corbelled stair-turrets.
Earl Patrick made harsh demands on his tenants and it was claimed that their hair and blood were used in the mortar. He also fell foul of his peers and the Crown which led to his downfall, imprisonment and eventual execution in 1615. Scalloway Castle continued to be used for local administration and justice although by the end of the seventeenth century the roof was letting in water and the timber beginning to rot.
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