Caerlaverock Castle

A visit to the Solway Firth and the Caerlaverock Burn will bring you to not one but two castles.  The original square castle built by St John de Maxwell now has nothing much more than a footprint remaining, the castle his nephew became Lord Caerlaverock around 1266 a new castle was planned further away from the mud flats of the Solway Firth and their flooding.  Much still remains of this castle, set in its water filled moat, what makes it unique however is its shape, rather that being the traditional square it is triangular making it easy to defend.  Apparently around 1300 the castle was laid seige by Edward I’s army of 87 knights and 3,000 men and siege engines, the castle held out for two days resisting without the siege engines managing to do much damage.  Two days to storm a castle was hardly a long time scale, but the siege had come as a surprise and no supplies had been gathered for a long haul, however the English army were astonished when the occupants of the castle surrendered all 60 of them!  Herbert de Maxwell’s design had proved to work  the castle had stood firm and it had been lack of supplies rather than indefensibly that had seen its downfall.

The ranges on the east and south sides of the courtyard are known as the Nithsdale Lodging and show the change of style that had come about by 1634 when the date stone says they were constructed.  Built by Robert the first earl of Nithsdale they show how in later years the castle had become a grand residence, with large windows looking out over the moat and into the surrounding countryside.

Caerlaverock Castle

Caerlaverock Castle

Caserlaverock Castle

Caerlaverock Castle

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3 thoughts on “Caerlaverock Castle

  1. I must go to Scotland – it’s years since I last visited your lovely country – as it is clear that I have barely scratched the surface visiting castles and houses. I have done Fife, Perth and Argyll fairly thoroughly in the past, so where do you recommend next?

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  2. I can join you in that sentiment Lissa, I often feel has if I could spend all my spare time exploring the castles and historic sites of Scotland and still have only just begun, which is why I find you question a difficult one to answer.
    The Scottish borders are littered with castles and fortified houses because of the wars of independence, there are also several fine abbeys to see, however most, although not all, of the stuff down there is ruins. If you prefer your history to still have a roof on then Edinburgh or Tayside have a lot to offer, while you can still easily find a ruin or six too. Tayside is also another area like Argyll that is rich in prehistory so if you are interested in exploring that side of Scotland too then Tayside could be a serious contender, but then all but the central belt of Scotland has standing stones.
    I think what I would recommend is that you visit http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/ and http://www.nts.org.uk/Home/ and find something you really want to see then explore the other things in the area. If you are a member of English Heritage and the National Trust you will be able to get into National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland properties for free in the main. There are many sites which you won’t find on those web sites, so once you have decided the general area you wish to go I can let you know what else is around there that you might be interested in.
    As for me if I was planning to come up here I would head right up the top, but that is probably because it is the area I have explored least.

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