Bothwell Castle

Bothwell Castle

Bothwell Castle

Bothwell Castle

Bothwell Castle is one of Scotland’s finest medieval monuments. Built from local red sandstone; it dates from the mid 13th century when Walter of Moray inherited the Lordship of Bothwell from the Olifard family, ancestors of the Oliphant family. Archaeological artefacts of both the Olifard and Moray families were found in the ancient parish church of St Brides in Bothwell.

The rich lands of Bothwell and its castle were fought over many times during the Wars of Independence, with the castle changing hands, between the Scots and English, some six times over a period of just 40 years. The grand castle design of the Morays was never completed as a result of this turmoil and it was only when Archibald the Grim, a Black Douglas, married Joanna Murray in the mid 14th century, was the castle completed to the structure seen today.

With the demise of the Black Douglasses in 1455, King James IV bestowed the barony upon Patrick Hepburn but at the King’s request, Hepburn and the title moved to Hermitage Castle in Liddlesdale, with the Red Douglasses coming to Bothwell. The 4th Earl of Bothwell, James Hepburn, the third husband of Mary Queen of Scots, therefore had no connection with Bothwell Castle.

The subsequent history of the castle is somewhat uneventful and towards the end of the 17th century, Archibald Douglas, First Earl of Forfar, moved out and started to build a fine Palladian mansion, Bothwell House, using much of the stone from the castle. Alas, like Hamilton Palace, just five years before it, Bothwell House was demolished in 1926, a victim of subsidence from coal mining. The only remaining structure being the current entrance to Bothwell Castle Golf Club. However, nearly 800 years later, Historic Scotland is proud to maintain Bothwell Castle as part of the nation’s built heritage.

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This post was written by admin on September 23, 2008

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