Medieval castles in Scotland

Megginch Castle

Megginch Castle is a 15th-century castle in Perth and Kinross. It was the family home of Cherry Drummond, 16th Baroness Strange. Megginch Castle is a private family home, which is only open for special events. The gardens are home to trees such as ancient yews, there is a topiary, and in the spring there is an extensive display of daffodils. The orchard contains two National Plant Collections of Scottish apples, and pears ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Errol, United Kingdom

Merchiston Tower

Merchiston Tower was probably built by Alexander Napier, the second Laird of Merchiston around 1454. It serves as the seat for Clan Napier. It is perhaps most notable for being the home of John Napier, the 8th Laird of Merchiston, inventor of logarithms who was born there in 1550. Merchiston was probably built as a country house, but its strategic position and the turbulent political situation required it to be heavily f ...
Founded: c. 1454 | Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Macduff's Castle

MacDuff"s Castle ruins is associated with the MacDuff Earls of Fife, the most powerful family in Fife in the Middle Ages. It is thought that a castle may have been built here by the MacDuff Mormaers, or Earls, of Fife in the 11th century, at the time of King Macbeth of Scotland (d. 1057). The Wemyss family, descendants of the MacDuffs, owned the property from the 14th century, and built the earliest part of the pres ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: East Wemyss, United Kingdom

Culcreuch Castle

Culcreuch Castle was built in 1296 by Maurice Galbraith. It was the clan seat of Clan Galbraith from 1320 to 1624, when it was sold to a cousin, Alexander Seton of Gargunnock, to settle a financial debt. In 1632, it was purchased by Robert Napier, a younger son of John Napier, the 8th Laird of Merchiston. The Napier family held the estate for five generations. The castle was used to garrison Oliver Cromwell’s tr ...
Founded: 1296 | Location: Fintry, United Kingdom

Thomaston Castle Ruins

Thomaston Castle is a medieval castle located west of Maybole, South Ayrshire. It looks much as it did hundreds of years ago. Little has changed, except for the addition of a house located on the property. The castle is run down and has debris falling in on it. Thomaston Castle was originally built in the 13th century for a nephew of Robert The Bruce, and first owned by Alan McIlvaine (b. 1500 in Ayrshire) whose family s ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Maybole, United Kingdom

Crookston Castle

Crookston Castle is surrounded by a defensive ring-ditch that dates back to the 12th century when Sir Robert de Croc, who also gave his name to the village of Crookston, built a timber and earth castle. Remains of a chapel founded by de Croc in 1180 have been uncovered. Evidence of an even earlier fortification on the same site has also been found. The lands of Crookston were bought by Sir Alan Stewart in 1330, and passed ...
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom

Findlater Castle

Findlater Castle is the old seat of the Earls of Findlater and Seafield, sitting on a 15m high cliff overlooking the Moray Firth on the coast of Banff and Buchan. The cliffs here contain quartz; the name 'Findlater' is derived not from Norse as earlier stated here, but from the Scots Gaelic words fionn ('white') and leitir ('cliff or steep slope'). The first historical reference to the castle is from 1246.  ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Banff, United Kingdom

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe is considered to be one of the earliest seats of Clan Sinclair. It was built by William Sinclair, the 2nd Earl of Caithness, probably sometime between 1476 and 1496, but before his death at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. In 1577, George Sinclair, the 4th Earl of Caithness imprisoned his own son John, Master of Caithness in Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, on suspicion of rebelling against his rule. He w ...
Founded: 1476-1496 | Location: Caithness, United Kingdom

Strome Castle Ruins

Strome Castle was originally built by the Macdonald Earls of Ross. Later in 1472 the castle was owned by the Clan MacDonald of Lochalsh and Alan MacDonald Dubh, 12th Chief of the Clan Cameron was constable on behalf of the MacDonalds of Lochalsh. In 1539 King James V of Scotland granted the castle to the Clan MacDonnell of Glengarry and Hector Munro, chief of the Clan Munro was constable of the castle for the MacDonalds o ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Lochcarron, United Kingdom

Hunterston Castle

Hunterston Castle, West Kilbride, North Ayrshire is the historic home of the lairds of Clan Hunter. The keep dates from the late 15th, or early 16th centuries, while the attached manor house is of the 17th century. The estate was granted to the Hunters by David I of Scotland in the 12th century, and the heads of the clan have lived on the estate for the following 900 years.
Founded: 15th century | Location: West Kilbride, United Kingdom

Red Castle

The earliest structure on the site of Red Castle was built for King William the Lion in the late twelfth century to repel Viking invasions to Lunan Bay. Evidence shows, however, that William took up residence there on several occasions whilst on hunting expeditions. In 1194, William conferred the castle, and land surrounding the village of Inverkeilor, to Walter de Berkeley, the Great Chamberlain. On his death, his lands ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Montrose, United Kingdom

Cortachy Castle

Cortachy Castle is a castellated mansion House at Cortachy, some four miles north of Kirriemuir. The present building dates from the 15th century, preceded by an earlier structure that was owned by the Earls of Strathearn. It was acquired by the Ogilvies in 1473 and substantively modified in the 17th and 19th centuries. In 1820 it was 'romanticised', as was the fashion of the day, by the addition of crenellatio ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Cortachy, United Kingdom

Rosyth Castle

Rosyth Castle is a fifteenth-century ruined tower house on the perimeter of Rosyth Naval Dockyard. It originally stood on a small island in the Firth of Forth accessible only at low tide, and dates from around 1450, built as a secure residence by Sir David Stewart, who had been granted the Barony of Rosyth in 1428. The original tower house was enlarged and extended in the 16th and early 17th centuries. In 1572 it was at ...
Founded: c. 1450 | Location: Barham Road, United Kingdom

Kinnaird Castle

Kinnaird castle has been home to the Carnegie family, the Earls of Southesk, for more than 600 years. In 1400 Duthac Carnegie married Mariota of Kinnaird and the Castle dates from that time. Early records were lost in 1452 when the castle was burnt down after the battle of Brechin. The Carnegies were, for once, on the winning side supporting the King but unfortunately the Earl of Crawford, who was on the losing side, took ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Brechin, United Kingdom

Dunscaith Castle Ruins

Dunscaith Castle is named after and was the home of the warrior maiden Scáthach. The castle itself sits on an off-shore rock. There is a gap between the rock and the mainland which was once spanned by a walled bridge. This stone walled bridge then led onto a drawbridge, the pivot holes for which are still visible on the far side. Once on the other side of the drawbridge a door opened to a flight of stairs which was also ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Drumin Castle

Drumin Castle is a ruined tower house near Glenlivet, Moray. The lands were granted by King Robert II to his son Alexander Stewart in the early 1370s. It passed from the Stewart family to the Gordon family in 1490. The castle was abandoned in the 18th century and fell into disrepair.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Ballindalloch, United Kingdom

Dunnideer Castle Ruins

Dunnideer Castle, now ruined, was a tower house located near Insch, Aberdeenshire. It was built c. 1260 partially from the remains of an existing vitrified hill fort in the same location. It consisted of a single rectangular tower of 15m by 12.5m with walls 1.9m thick. Evidence suggests that a first-floor hall existed. Evidence shows it had several floors. The tower house is built within an older prehistoric vitri ...
Founded: c. 1260 | Location: Insch, United Kingdom

Carrick Castle

The present Carrick Castle is possibly the third on this location. The first may have been a Viking fort. The second structure, and first castle, is believed to have been built in the 12th century. Allegedly a hunting seat of the Scots kings, Carrick was originally a Lamont stronghold. In the spring of 1307, Robert the Bruce drove Henry Percy from the Castle before conducting a guerrilla war against Edward I of England. E ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Castle Roy

Castle Roy is one of the oldest castles of its type in Scotland unique in that it is largely unaltered, whilst most other castles have been extensively modified over the centuries. The castle is thought to have been built at some point in the early 13th century, replacing an earlier wooden motte and bailey keep of Norman influenced design. In accordance with its early design it is one of Scotland’s simplest forts co ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Caisteal Maol

Caisteal Maol (Castle Moil) was an ancient seat of the Mackinnon clan. It was a fortress commanding the strait of Kyle Akin between Skye and the mainland, through which all ships had to pass or else attempt the stormy passage of The Minch. The present building dates back to the 15th century, but is traditionally reputed to be of much earlier origin. According to that tradition, Alpín mac Echdach"s great-grandson F ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Isle of Skye, 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.