Castles in Lanarkshire
Bedlay Castle, located between Chryston and Moodiesburn in North Lanarkshire is a former defensive castle, dating from the late 16th and 17th centuries.
The lands of Bedlay or Ballayn were the possession of the Bishops of Glasgow. The land was owned by the Boyds. It was Robert Boyd, 4th Lord Boyd of Kilmarnock. He built the original Bedlay Castle. The Boyds held the castle until 1642, when James, 9th Lord Boyd sold it to the advocate James Roberton, grandson of John Roberton, 9th Laird of Earnock, later Lord Bedlay. The Robertons extended the castle, and held the property until 1786. Since then the castle has been owned by a number of people, including the Campbells of Petershill, who built a family mausoleum in the grounds. Bedlay is still privately owned and occupied as a house.
Dalzell House is a historic house in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. It would have started life as a defensive wooden structure, which was replaced by the stone Keep during the 15th or early 16th century. The Keep was then extended in 1649 and throughout the centuries that followed further substantial additions were made to it, most notably the works carried out by the architect R. W. Billings in 1857 which were financed by the family’s then lucrative coal and steel interests.
Dalzell House is said to be haunted by three ghosts: a green lady, a white lady, and a grey lady.
Situated in a high steep bank above the River Clyde is Bothwell Castle, located between Bothwell and Uddingston. The Castle was by Scottish archaeologist William Douglas Simpson as one of the “foremost secular structures of the Middle Ages in Scotland”.
Construction of this epic Castle began in the 13th Century by ancestors of Clan Murray, it was to guard a strategic crossing point of the Clyde. Walter of Moray was from a northern aristocratic family, which acquired Bothwell in 1242 from David Olifard (or Olifant) who was granted the barony by King David I.
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Calderwood Castle was a castle in East Kilbride. The castle was situated near the banks of the Rotten Calder Water in what is now Calderglen Country Park. Constructed in the late 14th to early fifteenth century by the Maxwell family, the original peel tower collapsed in 1773 after several days of severe weather. An earlier building is suggested to have stood on the site which belonged to the Barony of Mearns (Roland De Mernis), which passed with its lands to the Maxwells through marriage. A new castle was later rebuilt on the same site in the 15th century. Later in the mid 18th century and then 1840’s another mansion house was constructed and extended on the site, but it eventually fell into disrepair by the 1940s, with the final vestiges of the castle being demolished with explosives in 1951. Nothing now remains except ruins and rubble.
Cadzow Castle, now in ruins, was constructed between 1500 and 1550 on the site of an earlier royal castle, one mile south-east of the centre of Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland.
A different Cadzow Castle is known to have existed as far back as 1139 when it served as a hunting lodge for King David I. This fell into disrepair and was abandoned in favour of Hamilton Castle, on the site of what later became Hamilton Palace.
It is not known for sure, but many believe that it was Sir James Hamilton of Finnart who built Cadzow Castle in about 1540 it occupied a previously undeveloped site. The castle was originally known as ‘The Castle in the Woods of Hamilton’.
The Castle didn’t have much of a life. It was visited by Mary Queen of Scots in 1568, but two years later was successfully besieged by the Earl of Lennox. It was again captured, this time by James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton, in 1579. In the aftermath the castle was slighted to prevent it being used again. Abandoned , it wasn’t until 1734, when the architect William Adam completed a grand hunting lodge for the Hamiltons. This was known as Chatelherault and stood on the opposite side of the deep gorge of the Avon Water from the ruins of The Castle in the Woods of Hamilton. In the early 1800s the castle ruins were extensively reworked to turn them into a romantic ruin to be viewed across the gorge from Chatelherault. It may be around the same time that the castle first became known as Cadzow Castle.
Craignethan Castle is now just ruins. It is located above the River Nethan, a tributary of the River Clyde, two miles west of the village of Crossford, and 4.5 miles north-west of Lanark.
The castle dates back to around 1530. The oldest part is the tower house built by Sir James Hamilton of Finnart. James was the eldest (but illegitimate) son of the 1st Earl of Arran. Following his father’s death in 1529, he became de facto head of the second most powerful family in Scotland after the royal Stewarts. He also became a close friend to King James V. When his castle was nearing completion in 1536, Finnart entertained the king and his court at Craignethan, for his daughter’s wedding celebrations.
James was to become one of the biggest and richest landholders in southern Scotland. He befriended James V, rising to become his principal Master of Works. But this wasn’t to last, in 1540 Hamilton of Finnart fell from grace. In 1540 James was executed. His legitimate half-brother, Lord James, the 2nd Earl and future Regent, became lord of Craignethan.
Mary Queen of Scots was sheltered at Craignethan Castle prior to her defeat at Langside on 13 May 1568. The end ofthe castle came in 1579. After a short siege, the two sons of the insane 3rd Earl of Arran fled into exile and Craignethan was slighted to render it unserviceable as a defence. After just 50 years, Hamilton of Finnart’s handiwork had been reduced to a ruin.
The castle is situated around half a mile north of Crawford in South Lanarkshire. Now ruined you can still see the earlier motte and bailey earthwork. This castle used to be known as ‘Lindsay Tower’ after it’s previous owners, the Lindsay Family. The castle holds a strategic location as it guards the approach from England into the upper Clyde Valley.
The site of the castle was the administrative center for the Barony of Crawford, at that time the largest and most influential barony in southern Scotland. Crawford Castle was in existence by 1175, and was probably built as an earthwork and timber castle some time before this by the Crawford family.
The Lindsay family inherited half of the Barony of Crawford, known as Crawford Parish.
At the accession of James IV in 1488 the barony of Crawford was transferred to Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus for supporting his father, James III, against the young prince’s rebellion. The Earls of Angus held the castle until 1578, when their estates were forfeited by the young James V. James used Crawford as a hunting lodge until his own death in 1542. His mistress, Elizabeth Carmichael, was the daughter of the hereditary constable.
After 1542 the barony was returned to the Earls of Angus, the keepership of the Carmichaels of Meadowflat coming to an end in 1595. In 1633 the 11th earl was created Marquess of Douglas, and the castle was probably rebuilt after this date. The castle then passed to the Duke of Hamilton, before being sold to Sir George Colebrooke in the 18th century. After a period of use as a farmhouse, the building was abandoned at the end of the 18th century, and much of the stone reused to build the present Crawford Castle Farm. Four stone tablets bearing coats of arms, one with the date 1648, are built into the west and south walls of the Castle Crawford House.
Douglas Castle was a stronghold of the Douglas family from medieval times to the 20th century. It stands near the town of Douglas in Lanarkshire. It had a strategic location to control the south western approaches to the Clyde Valley. The first castle was built by the Douglas family, erected in the 13th century, was destroyed and replaced several times until the 18th century when a large mansion house was built in its place. This too was demolished in 1938, and today only a single corner tower of the 17th-century castle remains.
The castle was the former family seat of the Prime Minister, Alec Douglas-Home. Sir Walter Scott used the location and early history of Castle Douglas as the inspiration for his novel Castle Dangerous.
In 1307, during the Wars of Scottish Independence the castle was captured and garrisoned by the English under Lord Clifford. Sir James Douglas, companion of Robert the Bruce successfully recaptured his family seat by storming the castle on Palm Sunday, while the garrison were at chapel. He had the garrison killed and thrown into a cellar, before the structure was burned. The event has become known as “Douglas’ larder”.
Robert the Bruce rewarded the loyalty of the Douglases, and Sir James’ heirs were created Earls of Douglas. Douglas Castle was rebuilt as one of their strongholds, but by the 15th century, the power of the “Black” Douglases had come to threaten the Stewart monarchy. In 1455 James II led an expedition against the rebellious 9th Earl, defeating his forces at the battle of Arkinholm. Douglas Castle was sacked and the family’s lands and titles forfeited.
The “Red” Douglases, Earls of Angus, had sided with the king against the senior branch of their family, and it was they who gained the Douglas lands in Lanarkshire. It is likely that the castle was rebuilt soon after 1455. Regent Morton came to Douglasdale in June 1574 to survey the house of the Earl of Angus with a view to repairing it and living there.
In 1703, Archibald Douglas, 3rd Marquess of Douglas was created Duke of Douglas, with his principal seat at Douglas Castle. The castle was again rebuilt around this time, as a tower house and an enclosed courtyard with a corner tower. This castle was destroyed by fire in 1755, with the exception of the corner tower.
From 1757, the Duke began construction of an enormous castellated mansion at Douglas. The architects of this, the final Douglas Castle, were the Adam Brothers (James Adam, John Adam, and Robert Adam). Had it been completed the castle would have been the largest in Scotland. As it was the Duke of Douglas died in 1761, and only around half of the original design was ever completed. The five storey building had round towers to the front and square towers to the rear facade, and stood in a very extensive park spanning the valley of the Douglas Water. The Duke’s estate became the subject of a famous and bitter legal dispute, known as the ‘Douglas Cause’, between his nephew Archibald James Edward Douglas and the Duke of Hamilton. Douglas was eventually victorious and ennobled as Baron Douglas in 1790, and the castle descended through his daughter, and granddaughter, to the Earls of Home. In the 1930s Charles Douglas-Home, 13th Earl of Home allowed the mining of coal in the park adjacent to the castle, in an attempt to relieve desperate levels of local unemployment. Sadly, the mining caused dangerous subsidence to the castle and it had to be demolished in 1938.
Farme Castle was located in Rutherglen, to the south-west of Glasgow, Scotland. It stood 0.5 miles (0.80 km) east of Farme Cross where the A724 meets the A749 trunk road. The castle keep acted as one corner of a courtyard, formed by an extension in the form of a castellated mansion. High walls and subsidiary buildings completed the courtyard. There was an ornate arched gateway to the courtyard adjacent to the keep. The old keep was of three storeys and a garret, above a corbelled-out parapet with machicolations and water spouts. An old ceiling was removed in 1917 to reveal an ancient wooden ceiling, which carried writing alluding to the Stewarts, and the date was 1325.
The castle was a simple keep of the 15th century, possibly built on an older core. Robert the Bruce had granted the Farme Castle estate to Walter The Steward. The estate later passed to the Douglases. From 1482 to 1599 it belonged to the Crawfords, and became known as Crawford’s Farme. It was demolished in the 1960s, by which time it was being used as a repository for redundant mining equipment.
This is a ruined 17th-century castle located on the north slope of Dechmont Hill, just outside Cambuslang.
The castle is within the former barony of Drumsagard, which was a possession of the Hamiltons. The castle was built in 1607. Around the turn of the 18th century, William Hamilton of Gilbertfield (1665-1751), a retired soldier and writer lived here.
The castle is now a neglected ruin, the east wall having collapsed in the 1950s. Only the corbelling of the north-west turret remains.which fell down in the late 1960s. It is now deemed extremely dangerous as a lot of the brick work has fallen each year. The turret fell in the 1970s.
Tower of Hallbar ( also known as Hallbar Tower and Braidwood Castle)
The Tower of Hallbar, formerly home to the Lockharts of Lee, is situated in the Clyde Valley. This 16th Century tower rises four storeys high above the Braidwood Burn.
The barony of Braidwood was first granted to John de Monfod in 1326, by Robert the Bruce. In 1581, the barony was transferred to Harie Stewart of Gogar, brother of James Stewart of Bothwellmuir, who was briefly Earl of Arran during the insanity of the third earl, James Hamilton. The tower was recorded at this time, making it likely that it was built in response to James V’s edict that “tours of fence” be built on all lands over £100 Scots in value.
Braidwood, and Hallbar with it, came into the possession of Lord Maitland of Thirlestane Castle, later passing through the hands of the Marquess of Douglas, before changing hands again in 1681, when it was bought by George Lockhart of Lee Castle, whose estate adjoined Braidwood to the south.
By the mid-19th century the tower was in ruins, but dereliction was prevented by Sir Norman Macdonald Lockhart Bt., the young laird of Lee, who had the tower restored by Dr D R Rankin of Carluke in 1861. The upper parts of the castle, including parapet, caphouse, gables and roof, were rebuilt at this time. The tower was then leased, generating income for the Lockharts. One notable tenant was the Rev. Neville Donaldson, minister of Glasgow Cathedral, who lived here during the 1950s and 1960s. The last tenant left in 1984, and the tower once again became semi-derelict, succumbing to vandalism.
Hallbar is still owned by the Lockharts of Lee, but in 1998 a lease was agreed to with the Vivat Trust, a historic buildings preservation trust. The trust agreed to restore and convert the Tower for use as holiday accommodation. Extensive masonry consolidation, including the rebuilding of a defective section of the upper wall together with complete reroofing, was undertaken in conjunction with the restoration of the nearby cottage or bothy to form further accommodation.
Lee Castle (Also known as The Lee)
Near Lanark, this Castle was the seat of the the Lockharts of Lee from its establishment in the 13th century until 1919, though the present house is the result of rebuilding in the 19th century.
In 1272, William Locard was granted the feudal barony of Lee. His son, Sir Simon Locard (1300–1371), fought in the Wars of Scottish Independence, and afterward accompanied Sir James Douglas in his attempt to carry the heart of Robert the Bruce to the Holy Land in 1330. Following the death of Sir James Douglas in battle with the Moors in Spain, Sir Simon carried the Bruce’s heart back to Scotland for burial at Melrose Abbey. He is said to have subsequently added the heart and fetterlock to the family coat of arms. He also acquired the “Lee Penny”, an amulet or touch piece said to have healing properties, and which remains in the family’s possession.
Sir William Lockhart of Lee (1621–1675) fought for the Royalist cause in the English Civil War, but switched sides, and later married the niece of Oliver Cromwell. Lockhart was appointed Cromwell’s commissioner for the administration of justice in Scotland, in 1652. He also served as English ambassador at the French court in 1656. His brother George Lockhart was appointed Lord Advocate, and he purchased the Lanarkshire estates of the Earl of Carnwath. Both Lee and Carnwath estates were inherited by his son Sir George Lockhart of Lee (1673–1731). He acted as a commissioner for the Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707, but later adopted the Jacobite cause. He was involved in the Jacobite Rising of 1715 but escaped serious punishment. George’s grandson, another George, fought with the Jacobites in the 1745 Rising, and afterwards went into exile. This George’s younger brother James also went overseas, fighting in the Austrian army during the Seven Years’ War. He inherited the Lee estates by staging the death of his traitorous older brother, and was made a Count of the Holy Roman Empire in 1782. His nephew, Alexander Lockhart of Lee, member of Parliament for Berwick-upon-Tweed, was made a baronet in 1806.
By this time, the parklands around Lee Castle had been laid out, as recorded on William Roy’s maps of the mid 18th century, although the form of the house at this time is unknown. Sir Charles Lockhart, 2nd Baronet (1799–1832), built a new house at Lee in 1817, but shortly after his death Sir Norman Lockhart, 3rd Baronet (1802–1849), commissioned James Gillespie Grahamto design a much larger house. Work began in 1834, incorporating the earlier building, and continued until 1845. The 5th baronet made changes to the parklands in the later 19th century, but on his death in 1919 the baronetcy became extinct. In 1948 the house and estate passed out of the family, and were later split up in the 1970s. The feudal barony of Lee was granted by Petition to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Representative in Scotland, the Lord Lyon, King of Arms to The Much Honoured Terence Alvis of Lee, 23rd Baron of Cam’nethan, 33rd Baron of Lee.
Baron Alvis of Lee (33rd Baron) carried out major restoration to the house over a ten-year period, during which time his Son and heir, Tai Alvis of Lee was born in 1981. In 2004 the house, along with 250 acres (100 ha) and the feudal caput, was put up for sale on the internet site eBay, although this was unsuccessful. The house was later sold for an all time record price for a private Scottish residence to an American buyer.
Mains Castle (Not to be confused with the one in Dundee)
Situated on high ground about a mile and a half north of East Kilbride, Mains Castle is a well-built medium-sized tower, dating probably from the late 15th of early 16th century. It stands in an elevated position on a mound above a small loch known as Crawford’s Hole.
Originally the castle would have been surrounded by a barmkin wall and ancillary buildings, although these are no longer present. The entire site was surrounded by a deep ditch, with access over a drawbridge to the east.
The lands of Kilbride were originally owned by the Norman de Valognes family. Upon the marriage of Isabel de Valognes to David Comyn in the early 13th century the estate came into the possession of the Comyn family. The motte of Comyn’s Castle is still visible on the crest of the hill above Mains Castle. One of their descendants, John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch (the Red Comyn), was the son of John de Balliol’s sister, so naturally he supported Balliol’s claim to the Scottish throne. This put him at odds with the rival claimant Robert the Bruce, and in 1306 John Comyn was murdered by Bruce. Bruce confiscated the Comyn lands and gave them to his son-in-law, Walter Stewart. In 1382 the former Comyn estates were granted to the Lindsay family by King Robert II, in recognition of the help of the Lindsays in the murder of John Comyn. Mains Castle shares design similarities with Crossbasket Castle, another Lindsay property in the area. In 1619 the castle and estates were sold to the Stuarts of Torrance to pay off debts run up by Alexander Lindsay of Dunrod. With the Stuarts having their main residence at Torrance House, Mains Castle was neglected. In 1723 the castle had its roof removed, with the slates being used in building work at Torrance House. Around 1743 the carved panel from the drawbridge gate was taken to Torrance House where it was set above the doorway. In the 1880s the castle was restored, but it was later abandoned once more, and between world War I and World War II the roof was again removed following damage during a storm. It remained an unoccupied ruin until 1976 when a 10 year program of restoration was begun by Mike Rowan, better known as the stilt performer Big Rory. It is still a private residence today, but is situated on the edge of the James Hamilton Heritage Park.
Rutherglen Castle was located where Castle Street meets King Street in Rutherglen. It was a large and important castle, having been built in the 13th century; the walls were reportedly 5 feet thick. The castle fell under the control of the English during the First War of Scottish Independence and was later besieged several times by Robert The Bruce. It was eventually retaken by his brother Edward Bruce but was spared destruction, unlike so many of the other castles recaptured from the English. However, the castle was burned to the ground by James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, in 1569, in retribution against the Hamiltons of Shawfield for having supported Mary, Queen of Scots, at the Battle of Langside.
The great tower was later repaired and became the seat of the Hamiltons of Ellistoun. Early in the 18th century, this portion and the new buildings that had been added were abandoned and allowed to become ruinous. Its stones were removed and no trace remains.
This impressive castle which is also known as Avondale Castle is located in the centre of the small town of Strathaven in South Lanarkshire.
The origins of the castle are not completely known, it is believed to have been built around 1350 by the Bairds. The Castle would later pass to the Sinclairs then to the Earls of Douglas. In 1455 after the suppression of the Earls of Douglas the castle was sacked and destroyed in purpose. Very little of the original castle remains.
Tarbrax is a small village n the parish of Carnwath, known for it’s shale mining. In gaelic “An Tòrr Breac” – meaning “the speckled tor”.
The name is derived from the Lawhead Tarbrax estate within which it was built, which was then owned by David Souter Robertson, a founder of modern Accountancy. This estate was originally based around Tarbrax Castle, a seat of the Somervilles, though by 1649 it had passed to the Lockharts, including George Lockhart of Tarbrax.
George Lockhart of Tarbrax was a son of Sir Allan Lockhart of Cleghorn. He married Anne Lockhart of Tarbrax daughter of Sir James Lockhart of Lee. They lived at TarbraxCastle and had a son William Lockhart of Tarbrax and a daughter Anne, who became Countess of Aberdeen.
Nothing remains to be seen of the castle today.