The beginnings of the fortified stronghold on the territory of present-day Grudziadz go back to the 10th century. It was first mentioned in historical sources in 1065. In 1207 the stronghold was ruled by Konrad of Masovia who, in 1218, bestowed Chelmno Land and the stronghold to Bishop Christian. In 1231 the town was conquered by the Teutonic Knights. In 1299 construction of the castle was completed and a town was erected around it.
The town was partially ruined several times during attacks by Pomeranian Dukes (1242, 1244), the Prussians and the Lithuanians (1278-1281). The seat of the commander of the Teutonic Knights was established in Grudziadz. In the 14th century the town was surrounded by a thick, double wall with 10 towers and 4 fortified gates. Moats were dug along parts of the wall. The town became a center of grain trade because of its favorable location on the Vistula waterway. The large granaries on the Vistula River were first mentioned in historical documents in 1365.
During the Polish-Swedish War (1655-1660) the Grudziadz castle became Charles Gustav’s headquarters. In 1711 Peter I, tsar of Russia lived there. From the 16th until the 18th century the town’s development was hindered by wars, plagues, floods, fires, as well as by competition from other developing towns nearby, in particular Torun. In 1772 Grudziadz passed under Prussian rule and soon after became a garrison town, in large part thanks to the mighty fortress built between 1776-1788. King Fredrick William III found shelter in Grudziadz after having lost the Battle of Jena against Napoleon. The town began to deteriorate with the decline of trade on the Vistula. Further destruction occurred between 1806-1807 when the town was under siege by the French for 5 months.References:
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.