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  • Chelom Leavitt

Chelom: Stained Glass


The stained glass in the living room depicts King Haco (1204-1263) of Norway who sent part of his fleet up Lock Long. It was created by James Guthrie (1859-1930), who is actually more famous for being one of the Glasgow Boys. The Glasgow Boys were a group of radical young painters who were “united by their disillusionment with academic painting, they painted contemporary rural subjects, and often worked out of doors sketching and painting directly in front of their subject. They we


re strongly influenced by the realism of Dutch and French art, especially the Naturalist paintings”[1] James was the leader of this group and was mostly self-taught, which probably explains his willingness to take the challenge of Knockderry Castle’s-stained glass. While he’s not famous as a stained glassed artist, his talent is apparent.


Some say the stained glass depicts the original inhabitants of the castle site—Vikings.[2] So far, I haven’t found any solid evidence of that but it is a persistent comment, so I hope to find the source. Either way the stained glass is a lovely depiction of a story of King Haco, who didn’t have a particularly peaceful life. “King Håkon IV of Norway lived from 1204 to 16 December 1263. He i


s also referred to as Haakon or Haco, or Håkon the Old. Born into a Norway torn apart by decades of civil war, Håkon presided over the unification of his country and the expansion of the Norwegian empire to its maximum size.”[3]


In the National Galleries of Scotland there is a painting by William Brassey Hole called the The Defeat of Haco King of Norway by Alexander III at Largs A.D. 1263. What began for Haco in little Cove, ended in Largs. King Haco wasn’t wrong to pick this spot as a beautiful resting point. Ten centuries later it is still a spot worth making a resting point.


There are five panels (one that is completely broken apart) that depict King Haco’s story and subsequent ideas. They are just one of the treasures of Knockderry.



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