There are many castles in Dumfires and Galloway, Scotland. Dumfries and Galloway, part of the south-west region of Scotland houses a number of impressive castles. Most are quite small and date back to the medieval period (12th – 15th century), while some were built in later centuries: Drumlanrig Castle (1675) and Threave Castle (1424). There are also several 18th and 19th century castles to be found in the region.
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In the Scottish Borders, a two-hour drive from Edinburgh, stands the ruin of Caerlaverock Castle. It’s one of the few castles still in existence from medieval times, but it has been so long since its days as a fortress that many people are unaware that it was once home to a king. Our post takes you inside this striking monument and talks about what it is like to visit.
This powerful stronghold was built by King Edward I of England and Scotland after his victory in 1296 at the Battle Of Dunbar, where he forced John Baliol’s army into retreat. At the time, Scotland had been a nation independent of England for over 700 years. Edward paid homage to his French ancestry by naming his new castle ‘Caerlaverock’ – meaning “rock of Laverock” – in reference to a mountain overlooking the site. The Caerlaverock Castle that appears today is based on what historians know about its construction from records left by builders at the time.
Drumlanrig Castle (Castle Douglas)
Located near Castle Douglas, Drumlanrig Castle was built in the 17th century for William Crichton, 3rd Earl of Dumfries. It replaced Threave Castle which had been burned down by Sir James Douglass of Lag who was hunting in the area when he ran into some Clan Maxwells. Unfortunately, he killed some of them, which was apparently all the reason they needed to burn his castle down.
The drurmalard is a rounded shape of drum or tower of a castle.
Threave Castle (Dumfries) Threave Castle, once owned by Clan Maxwell (a Scottish noble family), was located near Castle Douglas. The castle was burned down by Sir James Douglas of Lag, who ran into some Maxwells while hunting in the area and killed some of them. Unfortunately, that seemed to be all the reason they needed to retaliate and burn down his castle.
Kenmure Castle (New Galloway) Situated near New Galloway, Kenmure Castle is another medieval castle. At present, it is in ruins but you can still go inside and get a good view of the remains.
Morton Castle (Lockerbie) According to local legend, Sir Malcolm of Morth was raiding the church at Parton when he fell into a deep hole, which turned out to be a dungeon connected to the nearby Morton Castle. He was soon set free by his love for the daughter of the lord of the castle and they lived happily ever after.
Torthorwald Castle (Gretna)
Torthorwald Castle was built in about 1450 by Clan Kennedy within two years of the Battle of Arkinholm. It was burned down in 1543 by the Earl of Angus, but later restored. The castle has been in ruins since the 17th century.
Cardoness Castle (Sanquhar)
The first mention of a castle at Cardoness was in the 13th century. In the 14th century it formed part of a chain of fortifications along with Lochmaben and Threave Castles, which defended the Annandale frontier during a period of Scottish raids into England.
Orchardton Castle (Wigtown)
The remains of a 15th-century tower house at Orchardton were placed in the care of Historic Scotland by Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple, Baronet of North Berwick.
MacLellans Castle (Portpatrick)
MacLellans Castle was built in 1490 by John McLellan on land granted to him by James IV. By the 16th century it had passed into the hands of Clan MacDonnell and was used as a stopping-off point for pilgrims travelling to St Ninian’s shrine at Whithorn.