CastleEuropeScotland

Caerlaverock Castle

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HISTORY

The earliest mention of the lands of Caerlaverock is around 1160, when they were granted to the monks of Holm Cultram Abbey. Around 1220, Alexander II of Scotland granted the lands to Sir John Maxwell. This castle was square and was one of the first stone castles to be built in Scotland. It had a moat with a bridge facing north. Only the foundations and remains of a wooden enclosure around it remain. It is a moated triangular castle, first built in the 13th century. It is located on the southern coast of Scotland, on the shores of the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve.

WHY THIS PLACE

Caerlaverock was a stronghold of the Maxwell family from the 13th century until the 17th century, when the castle was abandoned. It was besieged by the English during the Wars of Scottish Independence, and underwent several demolitions and partial reconstructions throughout the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 17th century, the Maxwells were created as Earls of Nithsdale and built a new lodge within the walls, described as among "the oldest and most ambitious classical domestic architecture in Scotland". In 1640 the castle was besieged for the last time and was later abandoned. Although demolished and rebuilt several times, the castle retains the distinctive triangular plan first established in the 13th century.

CURIOSITIES

Caerlaverock Castle was built to control trade in early times. Today, the castle is in the care of Historic Scotland and is protected as a monument. The current castle was preceded by several fortifications in the area: a Roman fortress on Ward Law Hill and a British hill fort that was in use around 950.

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