Spindle whorl from Buittle Castle

This was used when hand spinning fleece from sheep into woollen yarn for weaving or knitting.  The wool was first combed or carded then spun on a wooden spindle fitted with a whorl.  The whorl helped to give weight and momentum to the spindle as it was spinning around.   Wool was the main source of yarn during the medieval period.  Animal hair, especially goat hair, was also used.  Some flax was grown for linen, and silk was imported.  Garments were woven or knitted and deliberately felted for additional warmth and weatherproofing.  The natural browns and greys of fleece added colour, and cloth was also dyed using plants.   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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Dimensions :
diameter 30mm, diameter (aperture) 10mm, height 10mm
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metal, lead
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Copyright :
Dumfries & Galloway Council
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