Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle (1836)
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Inverness Castle (1836)

Dominating the centre of the city of Inverness, Inverness Castle comprises the larger of two buildings lying on a hill above the right bank of the River Ness. The red sandstone castellated structure evident today was built in 1836 by architect William Burn (1789 - 1870) as the County Hall of Inverness-shire and is today home to courts and council offices. The High Court stopped sitting in Inverness in 2013 after four centuries, and the two court rooms are now used by the Sheriff Court.

The second building, known as the North Block, also extravagantly castellated in its form, was completed in 1848 as Inverness Jail, but has long been used as the Sheriff Court. There are two resident Sheriffs and the Sheriff Principal of Grampian Highland and Islands is also based in Inverness. Between the two buildings is a well that belonged to the mediaeval castle, which was restored in 1909. In front of the castle is a statue of Jacobite heroine Flora MacDonald (1722-90) and her dog, which was erected in 1899. The castle is also the starting point of the Great Glen Way, designated in 2002.

A succession of castles have stood on this site since 1057, the earlier structures most-likely built of timber. The first was partially destroyed by King Robert I. A replacement was sacked once again in the 15th C. A new stone tower was completed in 1548 by George Gordon, the 4th Earl of Huntly (1514-62), who was Constable of the Castle. This held out against James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose, in 1645. It was extended and reinforced by General George Wade in 1725 following the first Jacobite Rebellion, it was held by General Sir John Cope in 1745 only to fall to the 'Bonnie Prince' the following year, who levelled it using explosive charges.

Inverness Castle has featured on the rear of Royal Bank of Scotland £50 notes, introduced in 2005, in recognition of Inverness becoming Scotland's fifth city in 2001.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better