Earl's Palace, Defended Doors

The Earl’s Palace at Birsay in Orkney is a late sixteenth-century construction built for the Stuart earls of that island. They were a largely unpleasant bunch, and, being an illegitimate branch from James V, nursed pretensions of royal grandeur to which they were not entitled. Petty tyrants then, as now, tend to construct fine buildings, and this palace was rather excellent. Interestingly, it once had two towers protruding from the front, with the main entrance inbetween. Each tower had gun ports facing the opposite tower, so that any unwanted visitors who approached the front door could be efficiently neutralised. Earls Robert and Patrick might have made poor relatives and landlords, but they were very good at keeping their home safe. The gun ports would have worked wonders with cold callers and debt collectors.

The Stuart earls, or the Stuart kings for that matter, offer little instruction to the Christian regarding conduct and character, except in the defence of their abodes. We should guard our homes and churches even from those who would darken the testimony. Satan’s legions are seldom dressed in red leotards with clip-on horns and three-pronged pitchforks, for they visit as angels of light, as prophets of peace, as preachers of truth. Sometimes they are at the door and up the pulpit steps before they are discovered and unmasked.

For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. Acts 20:29-31, NKJV