Göksholm is the oldest privately-owned building in Sweden that has been continuously inhabited.
In the middle ages Göksholm was just a fortified castle with a large tower. Its oldest existent parts have been dated to the 13th century. It was built (rebuilt and enlarged) during the Middle Ages through six different stages.
After a fire at the end of the 16th century, the building was modernized according to that period's style, getting a more regular plan, bigger windows and details in the Dutch renaissance style. Despite the thorough renovation, the medieval base structure remains. A painted inner ceiling from the time of this renaissance renovation exists with 121 cassettes which is remarkably well preserved today.
Under the 17th century owners, Baron Knut Kurck and Baron Fleming, the castle was encrusted with portals, and circle-patterned outer buildings. Lars Gustaf Tersmeden had the ceiling renovated in 1801. This was the last big change in its structure. Some facade details were changed in the 1950s.
Historically Göksholm is famous for the popular uprising's leader Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson, the leader of the government, having been murdered on its lands in 1436 by Måns Bengtsson, the son and heir of the then owner of the castle.
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.