Scottish Castles Photo Library
- Craignethan Castle, Lanarkshire

Craignethan Castle

The castle sits on a promontory overlooking the deep gorge of the river Nethan. It consists of a square tower house with a deep ditch in front, surrounded by a wall with a gatehouse. The dry ditch has a "caponier" across it from which gunners could fire on any attacking forces. Inside the wall there is a house next to a corner tower, built in 1665 and another corner tower with a dovecot.

The castle was first built by Sir James Hamilton in 1530 and was the last great defensive castle to be built in Scotland. Sir James later fell from favour and was executed for treason. His half brother, also named James Hamilton, became Regent of Scotland and was created Duke of Châtelhérault in France. But the Duke opposed the marriage of Mary Queen of Scots to Lord Darnley and was banished to France.

The Duke later supported Mary Queen of Scots (she sheltered there in May 1568 after escaping from Loch Leven Castle and before her defeat at the Battle of Langside).

The Hamiltons had been involved in the murder of two of the Regents of Scotland during this period and in 1579 they were indicted for the past crimes. Craignethan and neighbouring Hamilton Castle were captured and the destruction which is evident today was carried out at that time.

Craignethan later acquired some more notoriety when it became linked to "Tillietudlem Castle" in Walter Scott's "Old Mortality".

See also Places to Visit - Craignethan Castle for more information and illustrations.

Return to the Castles Photo Library Index
or go to the next castle: Cramond TowerCramond Tower

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line