Golczewo castle was one of the biggest and best-built castles in Pomerania. There was even a legend saying that it was connected to the Kamień Cathedral through an underground tunnel. The first records mentioning castrum Gülzow date back to 1304. At that time, Bishop of Kamień Pomorski, Heinrich Wacholz, bought from Wulvekin Smeling and Echard Wedelstedt the castle in Golczewo for 1200 marks, paying them 500 marks of advance payment. Four years later, after the invasion of the Brandenburg army on Kamień Pomorski, during which the Cathedral and the neighboring buildings were destroyed, the bishop was forced to transfer his residence to the Golczewo castle. However, only Bishop Friedrich von Eickstedt managed to pay off the next installment for the castle in 1331. The presence of bishops in the Golczewo Castle is documented in the records from 1315, 1354, 1355 and 1363; however, the castle was used already by the Wedelstedt family.
During the next centuries, the castle along with the estate frequently changed its owners and was the cause of numerous conflicts, pledges, trials and debts of the bishops and dukes wrangling over it. Ultimately, towards the end of the 17th century, the desolate castle started to fall into ruin. The demolition of the walls (apart from the tower) took place after 1812. Then, the property was handed to a private owner.
Later, however, on the orders of Frederick William IV, the state bought back the castle tower, which was later thoroughly renovated. Presumably, a jail was situated in the lower story. The building was the first and foremost watchtower guarding the road leading from the duke’s estates to the residence in Kamień. In the Protestant times, between 1653 and 1816, Golczewo was the seat of Synod (the equivalent of a deanery in the Catholic Church).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.