Shieldhill Castle near Biggar has opened its doors after a multi-million pound refurbishment by local businessman and tech entrepreneur Colin Frame.
From cutting the grass at Shieldhill for pocket money in his teens, to getting married at the castle in 2015, he then bought the Category B listed building in 2019 and has now opened it as a luxury wedding and events venue.
Frame, owner of Shileldhill Castle and managing director of fintech firm Stellar Omada, said: “I was born and bred in the area and I’m incredibly proud and humbled to have the opportunity and responsibility of restoring what is such a historic part of the local community.
“While the pandemic has brought challenges for Shieldhill and our team in common with the rest of the hospitality industry, the last 12 months have allowed us to undertake significant refurbishment of the castle and we’re now seeing pent-up demand.”
The property is set within six acres of gardens and wooded park land. Originally a private estate owned by the Chancellor family, the original building dates back to the 12th century.
William Chancellor fought for Mary Queen of Scots at the Battle of Langside, and as a result the Chancellors’ main house at Quothquan was destroyed by the victors, so they moved to Shieldhill, with it becoming their main family seat.
The oldest remaining part of Shieldhill today is a square keep which is of a style dated to the 16th century. This was the main entrance into the castle until 1820.
Shieldhill was occupied by the Chancellor family until the 20th century, and since 1959 has been a hotel that has seen visits and stays from some famous people.
Nelson Mandela resided at the castle when he attended the Commonwealth Summit in Edinburgh in 1997. He planted an oak tree in memory of his visit, which sits in front of the castle, along with a plaque celebrating his visit.
The hotel went out of business in January 2019 and went on the market that June, at an asking price of £750,000.
Initial renovations were completed at Shieldhill in September 2020, allowing the venue to open reception rooms to the general public.
A second stage of renovation is underway, which will see all rooms finished in advance of full wedding venue launch in May.
Longer term plans include a new marquee, hot tubs and potentially a spa and wellbeing centre.
Every Thursday evening in March, the castle’s team will be hosting a virtual wedding fair.
Frame is the founder of Scottish startup Stellar Omada, which was recently confirmed as Scotland’s fastest-growing fintech business, after quadrupling revenue to £10.2m in 2020.
The company excelled during the pandemic, winning new business while growing headcount from six to 50 employees.
It specialises in programme delivery, technology transformation and testing services, with clients including some of the UK’s largest financial services and tech sector players.
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