Bothwell Castle was one of the castles in Scotland and is consider to be one of the most well-preserved Scottish medieval castles that never fell into ruin. It was thought to have been built sometime around 1300 AD.
It is initially believed that this castle was used as a stronghold for knights in order to protect the town from invaders who would storm these shores, and it has been said by some historians that this castle might have played a pivotal part in protecting Scotland during the time of English occupation during what we know today as The Wars of Independence. Later on, this castle was said to have been remodelled in between the 1320s to the 1340s.
The castle was also said to have protected Scotland from English attacks that were carried out prior to the Raid of Ruthven in 1582. In 1582, Bothwell Castle was supposedly used as a stronghold and a prison for James VI who was only 6 years old at that time. After the incident of James’ abduction from Stirling Castle by his Arabella Stuart’s brother-in-law, Lord Darnley, Mary Queen of Scots had moved into Bothwell Castle on May 27th, 1567 with her supporters where she stayed until July 17th of that year. She eventually surrendered herself to her half-brother, James Stewart (later on known as first Earl of Moray), in the hope that she would maintain her crown.
Surprisingly, much of the castle was left untouched for hundreds of years until it was used as a prison by Oliver Cromwell and a watch tower in the 1700s. Up until the 1870s, the castle was one of Scotland’s most important prisons and is said to have housed several high profile criminals including Sir Robin Oig Ferguson, Sir Walter Scott’s grandson, and James Wilson who is thought to be an important figure in Scotland’s fight for independence against England. The castle eventually fell into ruin during the late 1800s and was later purchased by the Erskine family during the early 1900s.
In 1902, Andrew John Erskine, the Laird of Inchcailloch, had bought Bothwell Castle from George Buchanan-Dunlop. He was a descendant of Sir Robert Erskine who had received a grant from his Majesty King James VI in 1618 to built and erect Bothwell Castle on an island in Clyde River which is locally known as “Batar Island”. This Laird decided to restore this castle back in its original glory with the help of architects Mr. Thomas Ross and Mr. William McAlpine.
The castle today is still privately owned by the Erskine family who are a branch of the Earls of Mar and Kellie. The castle not only serves as a family home, but is also available for hire for special events such as weddings, receptions, banquets and conferences. The Castle was used as a filming location for the 1995 film Rob Roy starring Liam Neeson (Ewan McGregor played Rob Roy).
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