The History of the Castle
Prior to becoming a hotel in 1959, Shieldhill Castle was the seat of the Chancellor family for over 750 years. The Chancellors are recorded as one of the oldest families in the area, having come from France at the time of the Norman Conquests, along with the Somervilles of Carnwath, with whom there are long standing connections.
The Chancellors left the castle and moved into a new mansion house in Quothquan. In 1568 however, following the Battle of Langside, in which William Chancellor fought in the cause of Queen Mary, Regent Moray sent out a party of 500 horsemen to destroy the mansions, castles and fortalices of her adherents. The Quothquan mansion was burned to the ground. No vestiges of this residence remain.
The Chancellor family then moved back to Shieldhill Castle, where they re-roofed and rendered habitable the old tower, originally built in 1199, and which now forms the core of the present building. The original form of the tower is said to have been square, with access by the round tower on the north side, most probably added by the Chancellors in the late sixteenth century. This remained as the entrance until the major alterations of 1820, when the tower was altered and extended to form the more classical styling that can be seen today.
During the nineteenth century Shieldhill was further added to and modernised. The original door has however been preserved – entire with its stone and lock, removed from its original position to one of the faces of the old tower, where it is set in a later simple rectangular moulding.
Above the door is an engraved stone with shields, letters and a pinnacle shaped carving, reputedly part of the carved work of an altar which had been found behind the panelling of the first floor Library, which had originally been the family chapel.
The letters I.H.S. and M.A. The shield on the left is fifteenth century and bears the crest of the Chancellor family. The shield on the right is unknown. The vane which surmounts the old engraving belongs to the late seventeenth century and the initials are of James Chancellor and Margaret Levingston.