The castle was probably built in the 13th century most likely in place of an ancient Estonian stronghold. The bailiwick of Karksi was first mentioned in 1248. The stronghold had a chapel dedicated to Apostle Peter. The first reference was made to a local clergyman in 1298. The present stone church, very simple in design, was built in the same place between 1773 and 1778. St. Peter’s Church is in the ruins of Karksi castle. The tower of the church is leaning, the inclination of the tower’s top is 205 cm at the moment. In 1994 it was decided to save the tower using complicated "construction surgery" developed while stabilizing structures in the old town of Tartu. Eight 10- metre-tall bored piles along with concrete beams penetrating foundations form a new bearing surface for the tower. As a result, the further leaning of the tower has stopped.
On the way which takes you to the stronghold, in the former cemetery of the Knights of the Order of the Sword, stands a nice Baroque chapel among trees, built in the early 18th century by Field Marshal George Reinhold von Lieven, the owner of the Karksi manorial estate. The coats of arms of the Lievens and the Mannteuffels have been fixed to the chapel doors. The chapel, similarly, was built with one side on the former foundation and therefore is somewhat leaning. The buildings of the Karksi manor have perished.
Ängsö Castle was first named as "Engsev" in a royal charter by king Canute I of Sweden (r. 1167-1196), in which he stated that he had inherited the property after his father Eric IX of Sweden. Until 1272, it was owned by the Riseberga Abbey, and then taken over by Gregers Birgersson.
From 1475 until 1710, it was owned by the Sparre family. The current castle was built as a fortress by riksråd Bengt Fadersson Sparre in the 1480s. In 1522, Ängsö Castle was taken after a siege by king Gustav Vasa, since its owner, Fadersson's son Knut Bengtsson, sided with Christian II of Denmark. However, in 1538 it was given by the king to Bengtsson's daughter Hillevi Knutsdotter, who was married to Arvid Trolle.
In 1710, the castle was taken over by Carl Piper and Christina Piper. Ängsö Castle was owned by the Piper family from 1710 until 1971, and is now owned by the Westmanna foundation. The castle building itself was made into a museum in 1959 and was made a listed building in 1965. It is currently opened to visitors during the summers.
The castle is a cubical building in four stores made by stone and bricks. The lower parts is preserved from the middle ages. It was redecorated and expanded in the 1630s. The 4th storey as well as the roof is from the expansion of Carl Hårleman from 1740-41. It gained its current appearance in the 1740s.