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 Castles of Scotland - Craignethan Castle

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near Lanark, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Craignethan Castle is a ruined castle in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. It is located on a bluff above the River Nethan two miles west of the village of Crossford, and 4.5 miles north-west of Lanark. Craignethan Castle was built in 1532 and was the last purpose-built fortress to be constructed in Scotland. The castle is protected by steep slopes on the south, north and east sides, with defences concentrated towards the west. The castle has a low central keep, within a rectangular walled courtyard. To the west there is a deep ditch beyond which is a larger outer courtyard.

Craignethan Castle was built by Sir James Hamilton in 1532. Hamilton was executed for treason and Craignethan passed to the Crown. It was acquired in 1542 by another James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran. Hamilton and his family led the forces supporting Mary Queen of Scots claim to the Scottish Crown. The Earl of Moray had briefly captured Craignethan Castle in 1568 after Mary's defeat at the Battle of Langside, but lost it to the Hamiltons again later the same year. In July 1570 and again in 1571 the Hamiltons launched abortive military coups from their bases at Craignethan Castle and Hamilton Castle. In May 1579, James VI supporters moved against Craignethan Castle and it was abandoned without a fight. In the 1580s the main defences were demolished. The tower house remained in use as a family residence, until 1665. In 1730 Craignethan was sold to the Duke of Douglas. In the late 19th century and the property was given into state care in 1949, and is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument managed by Historic Scotland.

The Arts
Craignethan Castle is said to be the inspiration for "Tillietudlem Castle", in Sir Walter Scott's novel, Old Mortality

Other Castles in the Area
  Bedlay Castle, Lanarkshire
  Bothwell Castle, Lanarkshire
  Cadzow Castle, Lanarkshire
  Douglas Castle, South Lanarkshire
  Gilbertfield Castle, Lanarkshire
  Shieldhill Castle, Lanarkshire

Shieldhill Castle
Craignethan Castle, Lanarkshire. Built in 16th century for Sir James Hamilton of Finnart

Photograph by Brian D Osborne. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Shieldhill Castle
Craignethan Castle sits high above the gorge of the river Nethan. This view from the ramparts looks south towards the glasshouses of Tillietudlem.

Photograph by Steve Kent. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

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