Constructed as a tower house in the late 14th century, Crichton Castle was expanded as power of the Crichton family grew. However, the Crichtons fell from favour in the later 15th century, and the castle passed to the Earls of Bothwell. Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwell, constructed the Italianate north range in the 1580s, featuring an elaborate diamond-patterned facade. After Bothwell was accused of witchcraft the castle fell into neglect. The ruins are now in the care of Historic Environment Scotland, and are open to the public. A mile to the south-west is Borthwick Castle, a 15th-century tower house that is still in use.

The castle's most distinctive feature is its Italian-influenced courtyard façade, which forms part of the north range. Francis Stewart, the designer, had travelled to Italy, and was inspired by new styles and technology in buildings there, particularly the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara (c. 1582). This was the source of the diamond rustication on the courtyard wall. The initials of Francis and his wife Margaret Douglas appear on the walls, together with an anchor representing Stewart's position of Lord High Admiral of Scotland. Inside are further innovations: Scotland's first 'scale-and-platt' stair, i.e. a modern-style staircase with landings and a drawing room to the north of the old tower.

To the south of the castle is a large stable block, with a horseshoe-shaped window and lodgings above.



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Crichton, United Kingdom
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Founded: 14th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Alex Watson (2 years ago)
Fantastic visit to Crichton Castle today unfortunately closed temporarily due too covid19, so we could only look around outside.
Colin Coonie (2 years ago)
Beautiful place. Interesting castle. The walk down behind the castle is fantastic
Ross Steedman (3 years ago)
Lovely ruined castle. It'll cost you to get in though! Great views.
Gavin Crosby (3 years ago)
Note there's no access inside castle after September and before April. On a sunny day this is a great wee walk, very easy and with good views. Nothing there apart from the ruin, so don't expect a cafe or toilets!
Mark Green (3 years ago)
Very interesting castle, with a very unique interior stone facade. There's parking nearby and it's a short 5 minute walk to the castle. It's also part of Historic Scotland so make sure you take your membership cards if you have one. If you don't, buy them: well with they money.
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