The Chêciny Royal Castle was built in the late 13th century. It is certain that the castle existed in 1306, when king W³adys³aw I gave it to the Archbishop of Kraków, Jan Muskata. A year later, under the pretext of detection of a plot against the royal power, the castle returned to the king. It played a significant role as a place of concentration of troops departing for war with the Teutonic Knights. After the death of W³adys³aw the stronghold was enlarged by Casimir III the Great. At that time Chêciny become a residence of the king"s second wife Adelaide of Hesse. In following years it was also a residence of Elisabeth of Poland, Queen of Hungary, Sophia of Halshany and her son W³adys³aw III of Varna and Bona Sforza. Later it was used for many years as a state prison. Among imprisoned here were Michael Küchmeister von Sternberg future Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Andrzej Wingold, Jogaila"s half-brother and Warcis³aw of Gotartowice.
In the second half of the 16th century, the castle began to decline. In 1588 the parliament ordered to transfer the castle"s inventories to the Chêciny Church and in 1607, during the Zebrzydowski Rebellion the fortifications and buildings were partially destroyed and burned. The castle briefly regained its former glory due to reconstruction initiated by Stanis³aw Branicki, starost of Chêciny, but in 1655-1657 it was almost completely destroyed by Swedish-Brandenburgian and Transylvanian troops. The destruction was completed in 1707 during another Swedish occupation. Then, the last residents left the castle. Over the next century the medieval walls become a source of building material for local villagers.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.