Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Cardigan Castle

Cardigan Castle overlooks the River Teifi in Cardigan, Wales. The first motte-and-bailey castle (ca. 1093) was built a mile away from the present site, probably about the time of the founding of the town by Roger de Montgomery, a Norman baron. The castle was later recaptured by the Normans, and was held for Earl Roger of Hertford. In 1166 it was captured by Rhys ap Gruffydd, who rebuilt it in stone in 1171. In 1176 the f ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Cardigan, United Kingdom

Skenfrith Castle

Skenfrith Castle was established by the Normans in the wake of the invasion of England in 1066, to protect the route from Wales to Hereford. Possibly commissioned by William fitz Osbern, the Earl of Hereford, the castle comprised earthworks with timber defences. In 1135, a major Welsh revolt took place and in response King Stephen brought together Skenfrith Castle and its sister fortifications of Grosmont and W ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Skenfrith, United Kingdom

Kinneil House

Kinneil House is a historic house to the west of Bo"ness in east-central Scotland. It was once the principal seat of the Hamilton family in the east of Scotland. The house was saved from demolition in 1936 when 16th-century mural paintings were discovered, and it is now in the care of Historic Environment Scotland. The house now consists of a symmetrical mansion built in 1677 on the remains of an earlier 16th- or 15t ...
Founded: 1553 | Location: Bo'ness, United Kingdom

Dunstaffnage Castle

Dunstaffnage Castle is one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland. It guards the seaward approach from the Firth of Lorn to the Pass of Brander – and thereby the heart of Scotland. The castle was built around 1220, probably by Duncan MacDougall, son of Dubhgall, Lord of Lorn, and grandson of the great Somerled ‘King of the Isles’. These were stirring times in Argyll, because of the remarkable struggle b ...
Founded: c. 1220 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Moorish Castle

The Moorish Castle is the name given to a medieval fortification in Gibraltar comprising various buildings, gates, and fortified walls, with the dominant features being the Tower of Homage and the Gate House. Although sometimes compared to the nearby alcazars in Spain, the Moorish Castle in Gibraltar was constructed by the Marinid dynasty, making it unique in the Iberian Peninsula. The Moorish occupation is by far the lo ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Gibraltar, United Kingdom

Cilgerran Castle

Cilgerran Castle (Welsh: Castell Cilgerran) is a 13th-century ruined castle located in Cilgerran, near Cardigan. The first castle on the site was thought to have been built by Gerald of Windsor around 1110–1115, and it changed hands several times over the following century between English and Welsh forces. In the hands of William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, the construction of the stone castle began after 1223. Af ...
Founded: 1223 | Location: Cardigan, United Kingdom

Tretower Castle

Tretower Castle is a Grade I-listed ruined castle in the village of Tretower. It was founded as a motte and bailey castle by Picard, a follower of Bernard de Neufmarché. Probably around 1150, Picard"s son, Roger Picard I, replaced the motte with a shell keep. By about 1230 a tall cylindrical keep was added to the inside of the shell keep, possibly by his great-grandson, Roger Picard II, and the space between was roo ...
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Cwmdu, United Kingdom

Ballindalloch Castle

Ballindalloch Castle has been the family home of Macpherson-Grants since 1546. The first tower of the Z plan castle was built in 1546. In 1590 the widow of the Grant of Ballindalloch married John Gordon, son Thomas Gordon of Cluny. John Grant, former Tutor of Ballindaloch, the administrator of the estate, killed one of John Grant"s servants. This started a feud between the Earl of Huntly and the Earl of Moray. The ...
Founded: 1546 | Location: Banffshire, United Kingdom

Llandovery Castle

Llandovery Castle is a late thirteenth-century ruin which occupies a knoll overlooking the River Towy and the land surrounding it. The Normans built a castle in the current location in the early twelfth century and this was rebuilt in stone. It was burnt in the early sixteenth century and never repaired. A Norman knight, Richard Fitz Pons, received the lordship of Cantref Bychan in 1116 and he probably began construction ...
Founded: 1116 | Location: Llandovery, United Kingdom

St Catherine's Fort

The Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom, which Lord Palmerston had established in 1859 in response to a perceived threat of invasion by Emperor Napoleon III of France, recommended the fort"s construction in Tenby. The design of the fort is credited to Colonel William Jervois. It is a simple rectangular work, consisting of three artillery casemates on two opposite sides, for RML 7-inch guns firing th ...
Founded: 1870 | Location: Tenby, United Kingdom

Oystermouth Castle

The first Oystermouth castle was founded by William de Londres of Ogmore Castle soon after 1106 following the capture of Gower by the Normans. In 1116 the Welsh of Deheubarth retook the Gower Peninsula and forced William to flee his castle which was put to the torch. The castle was rebuilt soon afterwards, but was probably destroyed again in 1137 when Gower was once more retaken by the princes of Deheubarth. The ...
Founded: 1106 | Location: The Mumbles, United Kingdom

Usk Castle

Usk Castle is located immediately to the north of the present day town on a hill overlooking the streets and main Twyn square. The castle and town was probably laid out and established in 1120, after some of the other Norman settlements and castles of the region, such as Monmouth Castle and Abergavenny Castle. However, the site had a history of previous military, strategic, and local significance, for it was here t ...
Founded: c. 1120 | Location: Usk, United Kingdom

Castle Campbell

Castle Campbell was the lowland seat of the earls and dukes of Argyll, chiefs of Clan Campbell, from the 15th to the 19th century. The naturally defended position may have been the site of a motte in the 12th century. The present tower was built in around 1430 for John Stewart, Lord Lorne (d.1463), or one of his kinsmen. About 1460, the property was acquired by Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll (d.1493), on his marriage ...
Founded: c. 1430 | Location: Dollar, United Kingdom

Balhousie Castle

Balhousie Castle was built in 1631, although its origins are believed to go back a further three hundred years. It originally served as the seat of the Earls of Kinnoull, and stood within a walled enclosure containing subsidiary buildings, orchards etc., on a terrace overlooking the North Inch. After falling into neglect in the early 19th century, the Castle was "restored" (in fact, virtually rebuilt), and exten ...
Founded: 1631 | Location: Perth, United Kingdom

Rothesay Castle Ruins

Rothesay Castle ruins has been described as one of the most remarkable in Scotland for its long history dating back to the beginning of the 13th century, and its unusual circular plan. The castle comprises a huge curtain wall, strengthened by four round towers, together with a 16th-century forework, the whole surrounded by a broad moat. Built by the Stewart family, it survived Norse attacks to become a royal residence. Th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rothesay, United Kingdom

Ardvreck Castle Ruins

Ardvreck Castle is thought to have been constructed around 1590 by the Clan MacLeod family who owned Assynt and the surrounding area from the 13th century onwards. Clan MacKenzie attacked and captured Ardvreck Castle in 1672, and then took control of the Assynt lands. In 1726 they constructed a more modern manor house nearby, Calda House, which takes its name from the Calda burn beside which it stands. A fire destroyed th ...
Founded: 1590 | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Newark Castle

Newark Castle is a well-preserved castle sited on the south shore of the estuary of the River Clyde in Port Glasgow, Inverclyde. For centuries this location was used to offload seagoing ships, and led to the growth of Port Glasgow close to the castle on either side and to the south. When dredging techniques made the Clyde navigable as far as Glasgow the port became a shipbuilding centre, and the castle was surrou ...
Founded: 1478 | Location: Port Glasgow, United Kingdom

Inverlochy Castle Ruins

Inverlochy Castle was built around 1280 by the powerful ‘Red’ Comyns, lords of Badenoch and Lochaber, to command the southern end of the Great Glen. The site of two battles, the castle remains largely unchanged since its construction. The moat that surrounded the castle has long gone but the location at the western end of the Great Glen and natural defensive postion against the River Lochy gave Inverlochy cas ...
Founded: c. 1280 | Location: Fort William, United Kingdom

Brecon Castle

Brecon Castle was built by the Norman Lord Bernard de Neufmarché in 1093, and was frequently assaulted by the Welsh in 13th and 15th centuries. The castle"s ownership changed numerous times. It began falling into ruin when Henry VIII executed the last dukes of Buckingham, who at the time controlled the castle. It was renovated and made into a hotel in the early 19th century. Numerous renovations were carried ...
Founded: 1093 | Location: Brecon, United Kingdom

Roslin Castle

Roslin Castle (sometimes spelt Rosslyn) is a partially ruined castle near the village of Roslin in Midlothian. There has been a castle on the site since the early 14th century, when the Sinclair family, Earls of Caithness and Barons of Roslin, fortified the site, although the present ruins are of slightly later date. Following destruction during the War of the Rough Wooing of 1544, the castle was rebuilt in the late 16th ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Roslin, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre

Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.

Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.

Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.