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6th July 2014 - Event closed

Douglas, Lanarkshire

Douglas Castle

Douglas Castle,
also known as Castle Dangerous



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A short distance outside of the village of Douglas is the site of Douglas Castle. Originating in the 13th century, the building was captured by the English invaders in 1307. Sir James Douglas trapped the garrison while they were at worship in the chapel on Palm Sunday and had them put to death in what became known as "Douglas's Larder".

Douglas Castle was rebuilt - but was sacked in 1455 by King James II when the Black Douglases and the 9th Earl fell out of favour because they were regarded as too powerful. The "Red" Douglases, the Earls of Angus, had sided with the king against the senior branch of their family, and it was they who gained the Douglas lands in Lanarkshire. It is likely that the castle was rebuilt soon after 1455 as a tower house and an enclosed courtyard with a corner tower. But this was destroyed by fire in 1755.

It was subsequently rebuilt in 1757 as a castellated mansion with round towers by the famous Adams brothers - it had similarities to Inverary Castle in Argyll, which was begun about ten years earlier. Had it been completed the castle would have been the largest in Scotland. As it was, the Duke of Douglas died in 1761, and only around half of the original design was ever completed.

Sir Walter Scott used the location and early history of Douglas Castle as the inspiration for his novel "Castle Dangerous". The castle is still sometimes referred to by this alternative name - indeed the directions to the castle in the village currently point to Castle Dangerous. Mine workings in adjacent parkland to alleviate unemployment in the 1930s resulted in that building being classed as dangerous and it had to be demolished in 1938.

Now all that remains is the ruined corner tower of the penultimate castle, retained as a garden folly when the later mansion was built in 1757.


Our visit on Tuesday 1st July to the village of Douglas, an 'Castle Dangerous, will include an opportunity to see the heart of The Good Sir James, which lies in St Bride's Church, the location of several Douglas tombs and effigies.

Nearby is the Douglas Heritage Museum, which is a 'must' for all Douglases.

This tour includes a visit to Bothwell Castle.

We will have lunch in a cafe near the magnificent Douglas estate gates, or you can bring a packed lunch.

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