Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Barry Castle

Barry Castle was a fortified manor house built on the site of an earlier Norman structure. It was raised by the powerful de Barry family, who played an important role in both the conquest of South Wales and Ireland. The structure was ruinous by the sixteenth century. By the late 13th century the castle had two stone buildings on the east and west sides of a courtyard, but nothing now remains of these above ground. Early ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Barry, United Kingdom

Dairsie Castle

Dairsie Castle is a restored tower house located in Dairsie in north-east Fife. The first castle built here was the property of the bishops of St Andrews, and may have been constructed by William de Lamberton, bishop of St Andrews from 1298 to 1328. A Scottish parliament was held at the castle in early 1335. The castle was rebuilt in the 16th century by the Learmonth family. James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton, then regent ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Cupar, United Kingdom

Almond Castle

Almond Castle is a ruined L-plan castle dating from the 15th century. The estate originally belonged to the Crawford family, and they built the castle in about 1470. In about 1540 it passed by marriage to the Livingstones, who built an extension at the south west. They also built an extension along the south east wall in 1586. When James Livingstone was created Baron Livingstone of Almond in 1633 the castle’s name was c ...
Founded: c. 1470 | Location: Linlithgow, United Kingdom

Borthwick Castle

Borthwick Castle is one of the largest and best-preserved surviving medieval Scottish fortifications. The castle was built at the site of an earlier structure, and it remains the Borthwick family ancestral seat. Sir William Borthwick, later the 1st Lord, obtained from King James I on 2 June 1430 a licence to erect a castle or fortalice. It was originally a stone enclosure fortress centring on an unusually tall tower house ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Gorebridge, United Kingdom

Muness Castle

Muness Castle is the most northerly castle in Britain, built by Laurence Bruce, the half brother of Robert Stewart, the Earl of Orkney. Laurence Bruce was appointed Sheriff of Shetland and set to work with a corrupt and cruel enthusiasm that was characteristic of the family. When Robert Stewart was succeeded by his son Patrick, Laurence Bruce felt threatened by the change. He therefore started building Muness Castle in 15 ...
Founded: 1598 | Location: Uyeasound, United Kingdom

Ballone Castle

Ballone Castle is a large late 16th century Z-plan tower house. It consists of a main block of three storeys and a garret, and a round tower and square stair-tower projecting from opposite corners. There are two ruined stair turrets. Corelled-out bartizans crown the corners, and have shot-holes and stone roofs. A courtyard enclosed ranges of buildings, including a bakehouse. The arched entrance, at the foot of one stair- ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Sauchie Tower

In 1431 Sir James Schaw of Greenock, Comptroller to the King, acquired the lands of Sauchie when he married the heiress Mary de Annand. Sauchie Tower was built by Sir James soon after. His son was appointed Governor of Stirling Castle in 1460. The Schaws held the land into the 17th century, with several members of the family serving in the Scottish royal household. Around 1631, Alexander Schaw, who was knighted by King C ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Fishcross, United Kingdom

Barcaldine Castle

Barcaldine Castle is a 17th-century tower house castle built by Sir Duncan Campbell, of Glenorchy, between 1601 and 1609. The castle fell into disrepair in the later 19th century, when Barcaldine House became the principal residence of the family. It was restored between 1897-1911 and now operates as the Barcaldine Castle bed & breakfast hotel.
Founded: 1601-1609 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Cairns Castle

Cairns Castle is a ruined keep, dating from the 15th century. The Crichtons inherited the castle through marriage of the heiress of the castle who was the granddaughter of William de Carnys the original owner. The castle has an adjoining wing. It has a vaulted basement, a kitchen on the ground floor, and a hall above. All floors were reached by a turnpike stair in the corner between the main block and the wing. There wer ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Livingston, United Kingdom

Jordan's Castle

Jordan"s Castle"s early history is somewhat obscure. The earliest authentic reference is to a defence of the castle by Simon Jordan against the O"Neills for three years, until relieved by Lord Deputy Mountjoy in 1601. In 1911 the Belfast antiquarian, Francis Joseph Bigger, bought the castle and restored it, using it to display his extensive collection of antiquities and making it freely accessible to e ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Ardglass, United Kingdom

Wiston Castle

Wiston Castle is a motte and bailey castle in the Pembrokeshire village of Wiston. The castle and village were founded by Wizo, a Flemish settler who was granted the land by Henry I of England after he had wrested control from the previous owner, Arnulf de Montgomery (who was in revolt against Henry). The castle was captured by the Welsh on several occasions but on each occasion it was retaken. It was abandoned during the ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Wiston, United Kingdom

Delgatie Castle

A castle has stood on the site of current Delgatie Castle since the year 1030 AD, although the earliest parts of the castle standing today were built between 1570 and 1579. Additional wings and a chapel were added in 1743. The castle was stripped from the disgraced Henry de Beaumont, Earl of Buchan after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 and given to Clan Hay (later to become the Earls of Erroll). Mary, Queen ...
Founded: 1570-1579 | Location: Turriff, United Kingdom

Roch Castle

Roch Castle was built by Norman knight Adam de Rupe in the second half of the 12th century, probably on the site of an earlier wooden structure. After the deRupe family died out in the 15th century, the Castle was taken over eventually in the 17th century by the Walter family. Their daughter Lucy was born in the castle, and later became a courtesan of Charles II, and bore him an acknowledged son James, 1st Duke of Mon ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Haverfordwest, United Kingdom

Moy Castle

Moy Castle was built in the 15th century by Hector Reaganach Maclean, 1st Laird of Lochbuie. It has a three level tower with a garret. The ground floor contains a well. It was captured from the Macleans of Lochbuie by Clan Campbell, but later returned to the Maclaines. The castle was captured from the MacLaines and garrisoned by Campbell followers but later returned to the MacLaines. It was abandoned as a residence in 175 ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Isle of Mull, United Kingdom

Denmylne Castle

Denmylne Castle is a ruined 16th-century tower house. The Balfours owned the property from 1452 to 1710. The tower house is cross shaped, comprising a main block, a stair-tower projecting centrally, and a matching small rectangular tower. The structure has three storeys, and a garret with a corbelled-out parapet at one gable. There are large windows, and a number of gunloops. A courtyard surrounded the castle.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Newburgh, Fife, United Kingdom

Invergarry Castle

Invergarry Castle was the seat of the Chiefs of the MacDonells of Glengarry, a powerful branch of the Clan MacDonald. It was burned down in 1654 by General Monk, then rebuilt c.1660-1665. After the 1745 uprising Invergarry Castle was sacked and partially destroyed by troops under 'Butcher' Cumberland as part of the systematic suppression of the Highlands. Edward Ellice (1781-1863) was a Director of the Hudson Bay company ...
Founded: 1660-1665 | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Castle Varrich Ruins

Castle Varrich precise origins and age are unknown. The ancient seat of the chief of the Clan Mackay was at Castle Varrich, thought to be over one thousand years old, there are believed to be caves under the castle which were once inhabited by the Mackays. It is believed to be possible that the Mackays built their castle on the site in the 14th century, on top of an existing old Norse fort. The walls are generally 1.4m t ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Tongue, United Kingdom

Auchindoun Castle

While there is evidence of prehistoric or Pictish earthworks in the grounds of the Auchindoun Castle, the remains most visible today are of the castle constructed in the mid-15th century. This building is sometimes said to be the work of Robert Cochrane, a favourite of James III. It passed to the Clan Ogilvy in 1489 and from them to the Clan Gordon in 1535. The castle was damaged by the Clan MacKintosh in 1592 in retal ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Dufftown, United Kingdom

Mains Castle

Mains Castle castle consists of several buildings surrounding a courtyard, although several of the original western buildings no longer exist. The northern and eastern buildings are where the family would have lived, with the servants occupying the southern quarters. The castle also has a large, six-floor, square tower house with dressed cornerstones, which is typical of 16th-century construction. The castle is located i ...
Founded: 1562 | Location: Dundee, United Kingdom

Monea Castle

Monea Castle is situated where a Maguire castle would have been based prior to the Plantation and a crannog is still visible. Building begain in 1616. It had a bawn built later, in 1622.
Founded: 1616 | Location: Enniskillen, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Roman Walls of Lugo

Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.

Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.

The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.

Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.

Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.

The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.