Updated: Jun 22, 2020
Recent work to repair the roof has given us the opportunity via scaffolding to get close up shots of some of the amazing stone carvings up on the walls of Lickleyhead Castle. Here I will go into a little detail about this.
The first picture shows the lettering above the main entrance to the castle. It reads '1629 IFMS'. This refers to the (presumable) completion year for the substantial renovation and expansion works carried out by then owner John Forbes. It is his intials and those of his wife (Margaret Skene) which are written underneath. I would hazard that the traditional Latin letter 'I' was preferred to the more contemporary 'J'.
The other carvings can be seen high up, at the top of the castle's dormers. The carvings all lie within what are known as triangular pedimented heads. Pictures 2 + 3 show the same dormer, facing west. I haven't been able to find a perfect match for this symbol, but it is perhaps a Celtic cross. The fourth picture, showing the south facing dormer in the castle courtyard, has a carving which is quite badly weathered. I make no attempt to give meaning. Another dormer within the courtyard(picture 7), facing east, appears to have the same symbol as the westward facing dormer.
There are two dormers on the north face of the castle corresponding to the two largest rooms within, including the laird's room. The first of these (picture 5) has what clearly represents a wheel. The second (picture 6) is also circular but looks more like a spiralling shell. Again it is weathered and it may originally have been two circles, one containing the other, with a dot in the centre.
I would appreciate any assistance in assigning meaning or significance to these symbols!