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Castles and Historic Buildings of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland

 Castles of Scotland - Hermitage Castle

near Hermitage, Roxburghshire, Scottish Borders, Scotland

Hermitage Castle is now a ruined structure, situated in southern Roxburghshire, near Hermitage Water. The castle has a formidable appearance. The unusual architecture was designed to allow wooden fighting platforms to run the length of the tops of the walls. The castle is near the border with England was fought over many times. It is under the care of Historic Scotland and is open to the public in summer.

The site is not easily accessible to visitors using wheelchairs or with limited mobility. It has an uneven grass surface which can get boggy and the castle has many interior steps.

The present castle was begun by an English lord, Sir Hugh de Dacre, around 1360. It was transformed by his successor, William, 1st Earl of Douglas, into the formidable stronghold we see today. The castle was designed as a defensive fortress. In 1492, King James IV ordered Archibald Douglas to resign Hermitage Castle to the Crown, because he was dealing with Henry VII of England. The castle was then given to the Hepburns of Bothwell.

In the 16th century gunholes were punched through the thick walls, and a gun defence built outside, to protect the western approach.

After the union of the crowns in 1603 when James VI of Scotland, became James I of England also, Hermitage Castle lost its strategic importance. It was abandoned and fell into disrepair, and by the turn of the eighteenth century it was a ruin. During the 19th century the ruin was preserved by its owners, the Scotts of Buccleuch. The Castle stayed with the Scotts until 1930, when it was handed over to the state.

Other Castles in the Area
  Cessford Castle, Scottish Borders
  Fulton Tower, Scottish Borders
  Gilnockie Tower, Dumfries and Galloway

Gilnockie Tower
A very fearsome-looking castle out in the wilds, south of Hawick.

Photograph by Gary Denham. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Gilnockie Tower
Hermitage Castle

Photograph by Gary Denham. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

 Hermitage Castle map