Caerlaverock Castle

Caerlaverock Castle
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Caerlaverock Castle

One of the finest castles in Scotland, Caerlaverock Castle lies near the mouth of the River Nith on the Solway Firth coast of Dumfries and Galloway, 8 miles (12 km) southwest of Dumfries. Built by the Maxwells in the 12th Century, it has an unusual triangular design and is one of the few castles in Scotland to have a protective moat. Additional features of this red sandstone fortress include a twin-towered gatehouse and the Nithsdale Lodging, a splendid Renaissance range dating from 1638. Attacked many times, its garrison of 60 men withheld a siege by 3000 troops of King Edward I of England in 1300. In all, it withstood five sieges and was dismantled three times. Caerlaverock was finally abandoned in 1634 following an attack by Covenanting forces. It remained in Maxwell hands until 1946 when it was given over to state care and is now managed by Historic Environment Scotland. The salt marshes nearby, which are an important wintering ground for geese and wildfowl, are protected as a National Nature Reserve with an area of 7700 ha (19,034 acres).

This picturesque castle has been drawn many times, including in 1815 by William Daniell (1769 - 1837), with the result published as an aquatint print in his Voyage Round Great Britain, and again by J.M.W. Turner (1775 - 1851) in 1831.

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