There were several fires at Loudoun castle, especially during the period from 1936 to 1941. The fire in question started in a chimney of Lady Loudoun's bedroom. Her bedroom was adjacent to the library which containg so many books and papers, helped spread the fire quickly. The Loudoun castle of 1941 was heated by wood, coal, and acetelyne gas which further escalated the fire's spread which resulted in the heart of the castle's destruction.
My sources still live in the area and verified that the castle burnt 2 weeks before RAF and Belgium S.A.S. forces were to begin using the castle and grounds area during WWII. The date of the fire was December 1, 1941. Sadly, if the fire occured just two weeks later, then those military forces would have been present with personnel, fire pickets, etc. to help put out the blaze. A Christmas postcard of Loudoun Castle sent in 1944 shows Belgium troops standing in front of the fire-damaged castle with an inscription "Friends of Loudoun Castle Belgian S.A.S."
Fourteen fire engines from several surronding towns did respond to the fire, but many of the local city fire departments were many miles away and when they arrived they discovered that there was not sufficient water source near the castle. In fact, they had to connect hoses all the way from the River Irvine (almost 1 mile away). All the residents (Lady Edith Maud, 12th Countess of Loudoun and her children) could do was escape and watch it burn. Many townsfolk did arrive and helped carry much of furniture and contents out. My friend, Mr. Crauifuird C. Loudoun, was a witness to that final fire.
RAF and Belgium troops did occupy the grounds for the duration of the war.
You are correct re: the amusement park. It is there and operating. When I wrote that, the park purchase just happened but after the first season was near receivership according to my Loudoun sources. I had investigated buying and restoring the castle, but the park consortium got there first -- a sacrelidge in my opinion. But at least by that time, the castle was declared a Scottish historical landmark and could not be torn down.
You may wish to review the books, "A history of the House of Loudoun and Related Families" and a small tourist book published by the Loudoun Park and Castle, "Loudoun Castle."
The sword was sold on November 7, 1930 to a Mr. Muirhead Moffat, a well-known Glasgow antique dealer. However, she apparently sold it to an anonymous buyer. But some claim that there were several "Wallace swords." But I believe that the one in Loudoun castle was the original as Loudoun history has it that Wallace's mother Lady Margaret Craufuird Wallace (maiden name Loudoun) took the sword to ArcLowdon castlet (the original castle) and it was kept there, except for a brief period when the King of England "borrowed" it for some 60 yeras.
My family moved down from Ontario, Canada in the 1930's to first, Traverse City, MIchigan, then Toledo, Ohio, then finally to Cleveland, Ohio. I was our family's first generation American born in Cleveland in 1946. My Louden's were in Canada since the late 1700 or early 1800s and helped form the towns of Peterborough, Bobcageon, and Fenlon Falls, Ontario.
Many of my family, nephews, cousins, etc. still live in the Cleveland, Ohio area.
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