The Great Hall was designed and built by Robert Cochrane, a favorite of James III (1460-88) and is the finest example of Renaissance building in the British Isles. James IV began the Palace Block, which was finished by his son.
The Great Hall was much altered when used as a barracks in the 18c, and recently the recipient of a 35 year restoration plan.
Inside the walls, HS has begun the final stages of a 35 YEAR restoration project of the Great Hall. It’s really quite a shock, really. The Great Hall has been reroofed, reharled, and is a smooth pinkish-salmon color. It’s a huge difference from the dark brown-gray of the other stone buildings. However, it’s historically accurate, even if it’s odd.
There’s a neat display inside of the restoration process, but we cannot go inside the Great Hall yet. The “hammerbeam roof” is complete, though, requiring 400 oak trees and a careful jigsaw puzzle layout plan for each piece to fit.
Stonemasons are repairing the walls when they can, replacing when they must, almost 30K tons of new stone fitted carefully into the gaps. It’s amazing, and as historically accurate as they can make it — down to the color, the windows, and most of the decorations, taken from descriptions in books and letters and other research.
We didn’t know why the walls looked so pockmarked — some smooth stone, some edges around doors and windows have been obviously replaced, while some wall faces, even though also obviously replaced, were still rough. Maybe it was refacing vs. replacing? Did they only replace the structural problems?