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.