Knock Castle Defended by ‘Mary of the Castle’


Knock Castle

Knock Castle

Knock Castle is also known as Caisteal Camus, it is 3.5 miles north of Armadale on the Isle of Skye.  It was held by the MacLeods in the fifteenth century, but later passed to the MacDonalds.  Knock Castle became the key stronghold for the Lords of the Isles – The MacDonalds.  Some say that if it wasn’t for the carelessness of the warden who held it for the MacLeods and allowed himself to be suprised, the MacDonalds would have never set foot in Skye.  When the Lords of the Isles eventually left Knock Castle for Dunscaith it became the fortress of the Barons of Sleat and stood seige from the MacLeods at the end of the fifteenth century.  On this occassion it was defended, and most bravely, by a woman, ‘Mary of the Castle’.  The story of how she came to be in charge is a mystery, but most of the MacDonald women were competent fighters so this is not completely out of the ordinary.  Stories of Mary’s courage and skill are still told to this day.  It was under the shelter of her shield that the clan had time to gather and to arm.


About Amanda Moffet

I run with Rodger Moffet. Live in Edinburgh and love travelling around Scotland gathering stories.

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