posted 08-04-2000 02:09 PM
This was indeed one of the homes of James Graham, Marquis of Montrose. There is also a photo on my web page.
The Lennox & East Dunbartonshire
Ruin situated at
Ordnance Survey landranger series 64 NS549772
1.5 miles north of Milngavie, on minor roads west of A81, 0.5 miles west of Mugdock village, in Mugdock country park, on west side of Mugdock Loch.
Mugdock Castle is sited upon a narrow level ridge some 320ft long, which once formed a steeply banked peninsula into the now partly drained loch.
There remains a fairly intact slim tower adjacent to the section of wall containing the gateway, and nearby to the north the vaulted basement of a second tower. A small portion of the gatehouse survives. Portions of the original wall mark out the site, which at the opposite and northern end of the ridge has the remains of the chapel and latrine tower. There was probably a wide ditch with drawbridge guarding the entrance. The castle dates from the 14th century with several later additions. Other ruins adjacent to the tower represent the remnants of the mansion house of J.Guthrie Smith, an eminent local historian of the Victorian era. A stone arched bridge over the gateway joins the first floor of the tower to the mansion, into which it had been incorporated.
The tower is an irregularly shaped structure of four storeys and 24ft in diameter. It reaches a height of 59ft to the parapet and probably represents one of several lesser towers of a very ruined large courtyard castle.
The ground floor room contains a mural garderobe which probably drained via a conduit to the ditch. It had no internal access to the floor above. The first floor is rib vaulted and supports the main entrance, formerly entered by way of a removable ladder and now by external stone stair. From here a turnpike stair within the wall at the south east corner leads to the second floor. The second floor stands at the same height as the top of the courtyard wall. From here a straight stair within the east wall leads the floor above and thence the battlements. The parapet wall is straight and not crenellated. The roof within is a replacement in similar form to the original. To the east of the tower is a more modern gateway to the mansion.
From the tower to the west runs a substantial portion of the enceinte,
Including the arched gateway with portcullis grooves. This is 8.3ft wide, and retains the marks of a pair of folding doors, one outside the portcullis , and one inside.
From the north side of the tower, a portion of lofty wall flanks the entrance route, terminating with the vaulted basement of a second tower. At the northern end of the ridge and at the crest of a steep drop, lies a remnant of a latrine tower and the wall. Seemingly outwith this, the remains of a thin walled chapel which measured 40ft by 17.25ft. The castle was extended in the 15th century with a high curtain wall enclosing an outer courtyard. In 1655 further extensions were added, which were replaced by the mansion.
Mugdock was a Graham property from the early 13th century. It may have been the birthplace of James Graham, 5th Earl and 1st Marquis of Montrose. He succeeded his father in 1626, and joined the Covenanters in 1638. As they became more extreme, he opposed Scottish intervention in the English Civil War. Lord Sinclair sacked Mugdock during Montrose’s imprisonment in 1641. Montrose went on to conduct a remarkable campaign against the Covenanters in 1644-45. He won the battles of Tippermuir, Aberdeen, Inverlochy, Auldearn, Alford and Kilsyth. He was defeated at Philliphaugh by David Leslie, and escaped to the continent. During his campaign, the Buchanans ‘harried’ the castle, and after this the northern portion and that facing the loch were allowed to become ruinous. He returned in 1650 and was defeated at Carbisdale, being captured and then hanged at Edinburgh. The family was forfeited, and Mugdock gained by Montrose’s greatest enemy, the Campbell Marquis of Argyll. The Grahams retrieved the castle when in 1661 Argyll was himself executed. The family then moved to Buchanan Castle in the 18th century. The castle remained occupied until J.Guthrie Smith built his castellated mansion in 1875, and damaged or destroyed much of the old castle in the process. It became derelict after being used by the Government in World War 2 and passed to the local council who turned the estate into a country park.
'Give me the groves that lofty brave,
The storms, by Castle Gordon'.
Visit my web-site at
[This message has been edited by wurdsmiff (edited 08-04-2000).]