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Although it may at first seem a little strange to be including a section about local history on this site I just had to do it. I feel the history of a place is such an important factor when trying to ... Read More ...
Above the present house on the island there are the remains of another building to be seen. These are the ruins of a fortified mansion built by John Balliol. His castle at Buittle was destroyed by Bruce in 1313, never to be rebuilt. After Bruce died in 1329 Balliol was crowned King in 1332, after the battle of Dupplin Moor, but a few weeks later was surprised at Annan and fled to England. Edward III at once invaded Scotland and after Halidon Hill laid the country defenceless. However, feeling was still so high against Balliol that he felt it advisable to build a refuge on Heston, leasing or buying the land from the monks at Dundrennan Abbey.
The mansion was completed in 1342 and was garrisoned by a Duncan McDowell; but again because of the hostility of the Scots on the mainland, Edward had to commission cetain Bristol merchants to carry wine, food and salt to the island with all speed. The House is referred to in the documents of the time as a 'pele', which means that it must have stood in a stockaded surround. Balliol did not reside permanently on this island, and in 1345 McDowell changed sides. As a result, the English attacked Heston and McDowell was taken prisoner to the Tower of London. In 1346 King David was captured by the English at Neville's Cross, and the following year Balliol returned to his Heston mansion, but in 1348 he had once again to depend on English shipping for supplies. By 1357 when David was released, Balliol had probably left Heston for good and never returned to Scotland. His former chief supporter in Galloway, McDowell, had come to terms with the Scottish Crown and with the Douglases who were now Lords of Galloway.back to top