Iron bloom from Buittle Castle

This is the product of making iron from iron ore, smelting.  Bloom was produced by heating iron ore such as hematite to high temperatures.  Molten impurities called slag then ran off.  The iron rich spongy mass of the bloom was reheated and hammered to remove any trapped slag producing a block for blacksmiths to use.   This shows that smelting took place around Buittle Castle.   Buittle Castle, near Dalbeattie, belonged to the Balliol family.  It came into their ownership by the marriage of Lady Devorgilla, the heiress of the Lords of Galloway, to John Balliol.  Both John Balliol and Robert Bruce (the grandfather of Robert I) had a claim to be King of Scotland.  In 1290, John Balliol was chosen as King of Scotland.  During his reign he spent the winters of 1293 and 1294 at Buittle Castle.   King John Balliol surrendered to King Edward I of England in 1296, and the English army occupied Galloway - Buittle Castle became an English garrison.   In 1312 Robert the Bruce (Robert I of Scotland) led an attack on Buittle Castle and it was not surrendered until great damage had been done to the building itself.  Bruce had the remains of the castle destroyed to prevent further resistance to his reign in Galloway.  Once he was firmly established as King, he divided the lands of Galloway amongst his own friends and supporters, and Buittle passed to Sir James Douglas.   Buittle was rebuilt, only to be destroyed again in the civil warfare that followed the death of Robert the Bruce.   This archaelogical material gives us a picture of life in and around Buittle Castle during these troubled times.
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length 65mm, width 60mm
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metal, iron
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Dumfries & Galloway Council
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