Caerlaverock Castle, Scotland



Caerlaverock Castle is located near Dumfries and the Solway Firth, on the Scottish side of the England-Scotland border. Distance is about ninety-four miles south of Glasgow and thirty-two miles north-west of Carlisle.

This castle is important to members of Clan Maxwell.

In fact, there are two castles at Caerlaverock. Visitors can view foundations of the first castle which has its origins around 950 and was occupied until around 1220. Then, motivated by flooding and inadequate space, the controlling Maxwell family built and moved into a spectacular new castle nearby where they remained until 1640. It is this ‘new’ castle which is the principal visitor attraction today.

Site of the first castle 
 
The name is of P-Celtic (Brittonic/Welsh) origin reflecting the use of that language in the local region between the 9th and 11th centuries AD. The name actually translates as 'elm hill'.

View of castle


The key features of the ‘new’ castle are:
-Unique, triangular shape sitting in a water filled moat.
-Featured in the Scottish Wars of Independence conflict with England.
-Entrance flanked by two great towers dating from the 13th century.
-Courtyard.
-Maxwell lodging in upper floors of the gatehouse provided high status accommodation.
-Spacious, new lodgings built in early 17th century, known as the Nithsdale Lodgings. At this time the countryside was less prone to warfare.
-Murdoch’s Tower and West Range.
-West and East curtain walls.

Medieval sculpture in site museum

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Overall, a stunning and romantic edifice situated in a pretty, nature conservation area with ancient woodland. Managed by Historic Environment Scotland. Refreshment facilities and museum on site.

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