Topic: Bothwell Castle
posted 02-16-2001 06:55 AM
Has anyone heard of this place.
Its near Hamilton in Scotland, I can't find anything anywhere. No photo's no history. Nothing. All I know is that Mary Queen Of Scots married Bothwell there. So if anyone has any information at all, especially photo's I would be really gratefull if you could send them on.
posted 02-16-2001 07:14 AM
Heres a link to a site that has a complete viewing of Bothwell in pictures and a few others can be found in the photo archive.
The site has much information and the visuals
[This message has been edited by duncan (edited 03-18-2001).]
posted 02-16-2001 07:16 AM
Walter de Moraviaís castle by the Clyde is located on the outskirts of the village of Uddington. It was designed about 1260 as a great pentagonal enclosure with a massive round keep at one corner, round towers at three other corners and a twin towered gatehouse at the fifth. However, only the keep and parts of the adjacent walls were completed before the Wars of Independence. The castle suffered a fourteen month siege by the Scots in 1298-99 and a siege of three weeks in 1301. The latter was personally overseen by Edward I. He deployed six thousand, eight hundred men at this siege, with a huge detachment of skilled engineers and carpenters, plus about twenty masons. A siege tower, known as the Belfry, was constructed in Glasgow, and transported in pieces on thirty hay wagons. Edward also had three big balistae and used twenty-three miners for undermining the walls. After he had recovered it, the king installed Aymer de Valance as his Warden of Scotland. It was surrendered and destroyed after the English defeat at Bannockburn, half of the keep being tumbled by the Scots into the Clyde.
Edward III had the castle roughly patched up in 1336 but it was captured and dismantled again in 1337. It lay ruined until 1362 when it was taken over by Archibald the Grim, Lord of Galloway. He made Bothwell his principal seat, creating a rectangular court half the size of the one originally planned. His son later added the hall and adjacent round and square towers. The castle was later held by the Crichtons, Ramseys, Hepburns and Douglases, and in the late 17th century it was dismantled for its materials.
The broken stones, the ruined walls,
'Tis few who know where hist'ry falls.
posted 02-16-2001 11:04 AM
Mary married Bothwell at Holyrood on 15th May 1567. he held the title, but not the castle at this time.
It was only partly dismantled to provide materials for a new Bothwell 'castle' by the then owner the Earl of Forfar. Ironically the effects of coal mining from which his estate made much siller caused the subsidence of his mansion and it had to be demolished. Here's a little more detail on my 'big house next door'.
Set spectacularly above a gorge on a bend in the Clyde, and protected on the landward sides by a deep ditch, Bothwell guards what was once a critically important crossing point of the river. Bothwell's bridge was the point at which any invading army from the south using the west coast route would meet the Clyde. The ruins at Bothwell reflect the importance of the site.
A massive though partly demolished Donjon or great keep of the 13th C, 90ft to the parapet, 65ft in diameter and walls 15ft thick, dominates the western end of a massive courtyard castle. Most of the remaining structure is of 14th and 15thC origin. This consists of a massive wall of enceinte, interrupted at various intervals by strong corner towers.
The Donjon provided the living quarters of the Lord, and despite having been partially demolished in the early 14thC was repaired to provide an impressive residence. It has it's own now dry moat within the courtyard, crossed by drawbridge. Sluices for draining the moat can still be seen through the base of the tower, even these having a defensive format to the stonework preventing surreptitious entry. The keep consists of 3 floors plus basement and fighting platform at parapet level. It has a finely moulded pointed arched entrance. Despite it's circular exterior, the rooms within were octagonal, and a central stone pillar rose from the basement to support the floors at the first and second storeys. This may have been continued to the other floors in wood. The basement contained the well, and a recess adjacent in the wall housed the winding gear and bucket. A mural stair leads to the first floor, where a twisting rib-vaulted corridor accessed the Lord's Hall, mural stair to the second floor, main entrance, and a vaulted room, which housed the lifting gear for the drawbridge and portcullis. The entrance is guarded from this room by impressive arrow slots. A second or 'common hall' was on the floor above, both halls having a latrine within the thickness of the walls. The third floor is thought to have been the lord's private chamber, and provided a separate door leading to the wall-walk providing a means of escape for the lord. The battlemented parapet had macholinations, or slots, through which fluids or objects could be dropped on attackers at the base of the wall 90ft below.
During the Wars of Independence, Bothwell consisted of only this tower, and the prison tower. It was nevertheless a formidable building, and was occupied by Sir Aymer De Valence, an English lord for much of this period. The tower therefore earned the by-name of the Valence tower. In the south wall just east of the donjon stands the lower section to wall height of the prison tower, with its pit prison. At its eastern base some 15ft below the level of the yard is the postern gate. A steep bending slope carries up from the gate to the interior, the embankment to the side allowing defence from above. A further steep slope descends from the exterior of the gate, along a narrow causeway below the walls with a similar purpose. The postern originally had a portcullis. High above the exterior of the gate the arms of Douglas can still be made out carved into the wall.
The southern wall continues to complete the perimeter at this side with the south-eastern tower, and is interrupted by a series of windows which betray the former site of an accomodation block. The largest of these windows, again a pointed arch, gave light to the chapel dais at the south eastern corner of the yard. The wall at the chapel site shows sockets for flooring at first floor level, with stone window seats, fonts for Holy Water, basins within the walling, and the remains of the vaulted ceiling.
The south-east tower is another impressive and decoratively structured building, again macholinated, with hexagonal rooms within a circular exterior. Each floor had a single room, each with an ornate fireplace.
Adjacent, the eastern end of the yard is occupied by a large tenement block of two storeys, the upper storey being the hall. There was a dais and large ornate pointed arch windows, the largest illuminating the dais. There are 3 vaulted storage rooms at ground level. The eastern wall runs to almost full height to terminate at the fragmentary remains of the rectangular north-east tower. This was once loftier than even the great donjon. It represented the main residence of the Douglas lords until superseded by the Hall block. Little now remains, but it had it's own portcullis, and the massive proportions of the foundations impress.
The wall continues to form the northern perimeter, turning back to meet the donjon at the north-western corner. Midway along this wall the modern entrance was built in 1987, filling a gap where once stood a huge gatehouse. This would have contained the quarters of the Constable, who was responsible for the administration of the castle. The position of the modern shop, just west of the hall in the northern wall, with a fireplace and oven built into the wall above it, indicate the site of the original kitchen-block. A buttress on the exterior of this section of the enceinte supports an impressive example of corbelling, which presumably was once surmounted by a turret. There are latrine chutes at various points on the external wall.
Outwith the surviving structure, foundations were uncovered a little more than a century ago. These were those of a latrine tower and a massive gatehouse. It is believed that these structures were never completed. However their distance outwith the existing walls, and just within the deep ditch which marks the original perimeter illustrate the originally intended scale of the castle, about double itís present area.
The Barony of Bothwell originally consisted of the lands bounded by the two Calders, that is the North and South Calder Waters. It was granted to David Olifard (Oliphant) in the time of David 1. His son and grandson, both Walter, succeeded in inheriting the estate and the position of Justiciar of Lothian. The daughter of Walter jnr. married Walter de Moravia (Moray), and he inherited in 1242. The site of the original caput of the barony is not known, but was probably close to St Brides Kirk in the town. He also gained the other neighbouring Olifard barony of Drumsagard with its motte at Greenlees, though in time the estates were divided, and the inheritors of Drumsagard went their own way.
Walter of Moray lost little time in showing off his new found position, and began construction of his new castle. However by the time of the Wars of Independence it was not complete. Only the Donjon and prison tower represented the defendable structure, the other towers reaching only foundation level. A palisade and the ditch probably defended the rest of the site.
During the invasion of 1296, Edward 1 of England captured William Murray of Bothwell, and took his castle. His nephew, Andrew took revenge at the Battle of Stirling Bridge a year later, but was fatally wounded. In 1298 the Scots commenced a fourteen-month siege before successfully recovering Bothwell. Edward 1, or "Longshanks", returned in 1301, and used specially constructed siege engines to retake Bothwell. One particularly successful tower was given the name "Bothwell", and was subsequently used against Stirling Castle. This may have been the tower, or 'belfry' built at Glasgow, for which the woods of the City were plundered for material. The castle was left under the control of the Earl of Pembroke, and Governor of Scotland, Aymer de Valence.
The castle remained in English hands until in 1314 and in the aftermath of Bannockburn several English lords sought refuge within its walls. However on the arrival of their Scots pursuers, the Constable, Fitzgilbert opened the gates and surrendered the castle and his compatriots. This 'gentleman' was from Homildoun in the North of England, and as reward was given a grant of land at Cadzow. His motte stands behind the Mausoleum of his descendants, in the town which took his name, Hamilton.
However the English retook Bothwell in October 1336, Edward 3rd making it his headquarters in the invasion to support Edward Balliol's claim to the throne. The Scots by this time had laid it waste, and a master mason by the name of John de Kilbourn was charged with repairing the damage. Some of the 14thC work is his.
By March 1337 the posthumously born son of Sir Andrew Murray, another of the same name, arrived with a siege engine called 'Bowstoure' and quickly retook his ancestral home. In accordance with Bruce's policy he pulled down the western side of the donjon, which fell into the river. The damage caused by his action remains to this day.
The castle remained in a ruinous state until 1362, when Joanna of Bothwell married Archibald 'The Grim', or Black Archibald, later Lord of Galloway and Earl of Douglas. He undertook to rebuild, his work being completed by his son following his death in 1400. The result is substantially what we see today.
The Black Douglasses were forfeited in 1455, and the crown took possession. It was given in turn to Lord Crichton, then Sir John Ramsey, who were both forfeited. However James 4 granted the barony and it's castle to Patrick Hepburn of Dunsyre, the 2nd Lord Hailes, in 1489. He was created Earl of Bothwell, a title borne by his more infamous descendant in the reign of Mary Queen of Scots. The castle did not stay with the Hepburns as the title did. With the permission of the king, Hepburn exchanged it for Hermitage in Liddesdale, with another Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, this time of the Red Douglasses. James 4th visited in 1503 and 1504. The crown incurred expenses for the castle in 1544, but it seems still to have belonged to the family, since in 1584, Dame Margaret Maxwell, Countess of Angus was in residence with her husband, William Baillie of Lamington. Ten years later the couple were accused of conducting a catholic mass in the chapel, a practice much denounced in those post-reformation years.
Another Archibald Douglas, the first Earl of Forfar gained possession in 1669 and began to take stone to construct his new mansion. The second Bothwell Castle stood in the park behind the original castle. This mansion survived until 1926, when it was demolished due to the effect of coal mining. There are a few uninspiring remnants of this unfortified house as you approach Bothwell from the Castle. After a lawsuit in the 18thC it went to the Stewarts of Grandtully, then by descent to the Earl of Home. In 1935 the castle was taken into state care and is now operated by Historic Scotland.
01698 816894. Historic Scotland, Open Daily, except Thursday afternoons and Fridays from Oct. to Mar.
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[This message has been edited by Gordon (edited 01-27-2002).]