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Castles in Scotland

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Surnames/tags: Scotland castles
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Scotland Project > Topical Teams > Castles in Scotland

Leader Contacts: Jacqueline Baxter and Sheena Tait

Team Members: Susan Barnes - Jean Skar


Team Goals

The goal of this team is to:

  • develop space pages for each Castle listed here
  • identify profiles for the people associated with each Castle
  • develop existing profiles so they meet Project standard
  • create and develop profiles associated with each Castle, as needed

Castles in Scotland

A castle is a type of fortified structure built during the Middle Ages. In Scotland, earlier fortifications had included hill forts, brochs, and duns; and many castles were on the site of these earlier buildings. The first castles were built in Scotland in the 11th and 12th centuries, with the introduction of Flemish/Norman influence. These motte and bailey castles were replaced with the first stone-built castles from around 1200.
For Categorisation: If categorising a castle, please use the name of the castle as seen on wikipedia. See list of castles here:
WikiTree Space Pages:
External Links:

Ardtornish Castle, Argyllshire

Category: Ardtornish Castle
Ardtornish Castle, now a ruin, is located at Morvern, Highlands, Scotland; on the north side of the Sound of Mull, in Argyllshire. It is protected as a scheduled monument.
The castle was a large keep, likely built by the Lord of the Isles, in the 14th century. It was at Ardtornish Castle that John of Islay, Lord of the Isles, 6th chief of Clan Donald died in the 1380s and from where his funeral procession sailed through the Sound of Mull to the Isle of Iona.
  • Source: MacGibbon, David; and Ross, Thomas; The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland...; (Douglas, D; Edinburgh, 1887); Pg. 122-123

Balquhain Castle, Aberdeenshire

Category: Balquhain Castle
Balquhain Castle, now a ruined tower house, is located in the parish of Chapel of Garioch, Aberdeenshire, about 4 Km west of Inverurie.
The original residence was built by the Leslie family in the 14th century, after Sir George Leslie obtained the land from King David II. It is believed this original structure was burned by Sir John Forbes of Drumminor in 1420.
Sir William Leslie of Balquhain was in possession of the land in 1460. Construction of a new keep was completed in 1530 and Queen Mary is known to have stayed the night here in 1562, before the battle of Corrichie. The castle and lands were held by the Leslie family until the second castle was burned by the forces of Prince William, Duke of Cumberland in 1746 and was abandoned.


Biggar Castle, Midlothian (aka Woolmet House)

Category: Biggar Castle

See:Woolmet House in Midlothian, the home of the Biggar family.

  • Source: MacGibbon, David; and Ross, Thomas; The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland...; (Douglas, D; Edinburgh, 1887); Vol IV, pg. 342-347

Biggar Castle, Lanarkshire

Another structure known as Biggar Castle is believed to have been a castle near the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire. It was an early castle of Clan Fleming.
In “The Castles of Scotland”, Martin Coventry includes a brief entry for Biggar Castle simply stating that it was a 13th century castle of the Flemings. Mike Salter, writing in “The Castles of South-West Scotland”, refers briefly to Biggar Castle belonging to the Fleming family from the 12th century before they moved to Boghall Castle in the 14th century. It seems likely that the castle was abandoned by the Flemings around the 15th Century and fell into ruin. Nothing remains of the castle today.

Moulin Castle, Perthshire (aka Black Castle of Moulin)

Moulin Castle, (Scottish Gaelic: Caisteal Dubh Mhaothlinne, also known as An Sean Chaisteal or Black Castle), is a ruined 13th century stronghold located in Moulin in Perthshire, Scotland. It is now a scheduled monument.
Sir Neil Campbell received the land from his brother-in-law, Robert the Bruce. The castle was built about 1326 by Neil's son, Sir John Campbell of Lochawe. The castle stoon on a crannog, in a loch which has now been drained. Sir John died without issue and the castle was then granted to William Douglas, Lord of Liddesdale. Before the castle was torched in 1512 due to a fear of plague, it had been granted to Robert, Steward of Scotland. When the castles was abandoned, it fell into ruin.


Blair Castle, Perthshire

Category: Blair Castle
The current castle is the baronial seat of the Murray family, and the residence of Lord Glenlyon, supposed to have been erected by John Cumin, of Strathbogie, who became Earl of Atholl in right of his wife; in 1750.
It is said to be located on the site of a castle built in 1269 by John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch (died c. 1275), a northern neighbour of David of Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl (died 1270), who started building on the Earl's land while he was away on crusade. Upon his return, the Earl complained about the interloper to King Alexander III, won back his land and incorporated the tower that had been built into his own castle. David II Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl (died 1326), forfeited the titles and estates after rebelling against Robert the Bruce in 1322. The earldom was granted to a number of individuals until 1457 when James II granted it to his half-brother John Stewart (1440–1512). John Murray, son of the second Earl of Tullibardine, was created Earl of Atholl in 1629, and the title has since remained in the Murray family.


Caerlaverock Castle

Castle of Mey

Category: Castle of Mey
The Castle of Mey is located in Caithness, on the north coast of Scotland, about 6 miles west of John o' Groats.

Douglas Castles

Edinburgh Castle

Category: Edinburgh Castle

Black dinner at Edinburgh Castle

In the early 15th century, another English invasion, this time under Henry IV, reached Edinburgh Castle and began a siege, but due to a lack of supplies, the English withdrew. From 1437, Sir William Crichton was Keeper of Edinburgh Castle, and soon after became Chancellor of Scotland. In an attempt to gain the regency of Scotland, Crichton sought to overthrow the power of the Earls of Douglas, the principal noble family in the kingdom. The sixteen-year-old William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas, and his younger brother David, were summoned to Edinburgh Castle in November 1440. The so-called "Black Dinner" which followed saw the two boys summarily beheaded on trumped-up charges, in the presence of the ten-year-old King James II (ruled 1437–1460). Douglas' supporters subsequently laid siege to the castle, causing some damage.

Finlaggan Castle

Category: Finlaggan Castle
Finlaggan Castle (Scottish Gaelic: Port an Eilein, English: Port of the Island), also known as Eilean Mor Castle was once a stronghold of Clan MacDonald and the seat of the Lord of the Isles, both before and after assimilation into Scotland.
Now a ruin, it is located on the isle of Eilean Mór on Loch Finlaggan, Islay, Scotland.
The castle was thought built in the 13th century, with masonry walls, and possibly built on the remains of an earlier Iron Age fort. The Lords of the Isles used the castle a principal court.
Iain Mor MacDonald, 3rd of Dunnyveg and his son Iain Cathanach MacDonald were taken prisoner at Finlaggan Castle, through the deception of Macian of Ardnamurchan for the hanging and execution of the governor of Dunaverty Castle and were later tried and hung on the Burgh Muir, Edinburgh.
In 1541 Finlaggan was held from the Crown by Donald MacGilleasbuig.
The castle appears to have been demolished in the 15th-16th century.

Frendraught Castle

Category: Frendraught Castle

Fyvie Castle

Fyvie Castle
Category: Fyvie Castle

Glamis Castle

Category: Glamis Castle
Glamis Castle is situated beside the village of Glamis, Angus.
It has been the home for the Lyon family since the 14th Century and is currently the home of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, (2016) Simon Bowes-Lyon and is open to the public.

Hailes Castle

Category: Hailes Castle

Castle Menzies

Category: Castle Menzies
Team Page: Castle Menzies
Castle Menzies

A spectacular sixteenth century Scottish castle, Castle Menzies was the seat of the Chiefs of Clan Menzies and the Menzies Baronets for over 500 years. Situated in a strategic location at Weem near Aberfeldy, it was involved in much of the turbulent history of the Highlands. During the second Jacobite rising the Castle first hosted both Bonnie Prince Charlie, who rested on his way to Culloden in 1746 and then, just four days later, the Duke of Cumberland, son of the British Monarch and commander of the Government forces. Castle Menzies is now open to the public and serves as the base for the Menzies Clan Society.

Pitcaple Castle

Category: Pitcaple Castle
Pitcaple Castle is in the parish of Chapel of Garioch and the county of Aberdeenshire. It was built in the late 15th century originally with open parapet and was one of the clan castle for Clan Leslie.

Sanquhar Castle

Category: Sanquhar Castle

Smeaton-Hepburn Estate

Category: Smeaton-Hepburn Estate
Originally called the Smeaton Estate (Smeaton castle of Smeaton House) the estate belonged to the Hepburn family for 400 years, until 1934. The site of castle or old house, and ‘Smyrton’ is marked on Blaeu’s map of The Lothians, then ‘Smitone’ on Adair’s map of East Lothian in wooded policies.
The lands were held by the Hepburns. Adam Hepburn of Smeaton supported Mary Queen of Scots, and fought at the Battle of Langside in 1568, and is mentioned in a Summons of treason in 1567. Master Partick Hepburn of Smeaton was a magistrate for the burgh of Haddington, and on a commission Regarding boot and shoes (about the dearth and high price of footwear) in 1608. John Hepburn of Smeaton is on record in the 1640s and he was appointed as commissioner of the committee for purging the army within East Lothian. In 1661 Patrick Hepburn of Smeaton was on a commission for judging of Janet Hogg, spouse to George Harlaw in Linton, ‘guilty of the abominable crime of witchcraft’.
The property passed by marriage to the Buchans when Elizabeth Hepburn, heiress of Patrick Hepburn of Smeaton, married George Buchan of Letham and the family took the name Buchan-Hepburn from 1764. Their son, Sir George Buchan Hepburn, built the mansion in the 1790s, and he was a lawyer and baron of the exchaquer, and he was made a baronet in 1815, four years before he died. Sir Thomas Hepburn-Buchan, 3rd baronet, was Conservative MP for Haddingtonshire 1838-1847. The property was sold to the Gray family in 1934.



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