Category: Castles


Farme and Rutherglen Castles

South Lanarkshire Museums have been digitising their collections, and browsing through the images, I found some things I’d never seen before. I was taken aback to see a postcard of the Farme Castle, Rutherglen. No date, but it looks early 20th century. Farme was only destroyed in the 1960s, but this is the first time I’ve ever set eyes on it. Naturally once you think to look for it, you find it again, this time courtesy of Thomas Annan via The Glasgow Story.

Of course, the one I’d really love to see is Rutherglen Castle. Having been razed in 1569, that seems unlikely, but Canmore says the tower was repaired and only abandoned and cleared in the 18th century, right in Jacobite times. So maybe sketches of ancient Scottish fortresses weren’t politically correct 🙂

Dauner to Castle Hill

Thousands of cars pass over the bridge at Kittoch Glen, but few of their occupants will know that two mottes lie just off to their side.

To be fair, Castle Hill and Rough Hill look just like tree covered hills. It’s only when you get close that you notice the artificially flattened tops.

I like the idea that Rough Hill motte was built first as a sort of trial run, but there are suggestions that the buildings of Castle Hill motte were wooden, while those on Rough Hill were stone, which actually suggests the opposite.

There’s little known about these two, but they lie almost halfway between the tower houses of Mains Castle and The Peel, and both of those have earlier mottes close by. Does that suggest that these belonged to another family altogether, or was there just a whole mess of motte building going on roundabout?

We parked in Kittoch Muir, a modern estate designed to look old with lots of white peeling plasterwork, but great streetnames: Davie’s Acre is a wonderful name (which maybe explains why they’re so expensive).

There’s a steep drop from the level of the houses, with the hill rolling down into the glen itself on the right, and the motte straight ahead going down into the ditch and then up a steep incline. On top, it’s very clear that the ground has been flattened and there’s actually a surprising amount of space, with a great view in both directions along the glen.

Walking around the base of the motte, its position becomes clear, high above the water. I doubt if it would have taken long for medieval weaponry to catch up with its location though. I’m pretty sure a decent lowbowman would have been able to reach it from the other side of the glen.

The glen itself is just begging to be explored, and reminded me of the fields I wandered through as a kid, with wandering paths through waist high grass and stinging nettles and the smell of the water close by. As an adult I dread what’s hiding in that water, but my inner child was desperate to go look closer.

Additional material added April 2012

Bothwell Castle and the Clyde

The first dry Sunday in ages, so we went for a wander round Bothwell Castle with friends. Their first visit, but we’ve been plenty of times, so it was interesting watching the kids giving them the grand tour.

 

Bothwell Castle sits right on a bend in the Clyde, with Blantyre Priory on the opposite bank (although the latter it’s almost completely destroyed). Great defensive location on three sides, and a steep hill up from the river on part of the landward side, and multiple towers were planned for the least protected area. It was a pretty secure site.

And then of course, along come the Wars of Independence and Bothwell is slap bang in the firing line.