Blackness Castle

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Blackness Castle is situated about 16 miles west of Edinburgh, by the small village of Blackness. This is a 1400s fortress built for Sir George Crichton.

Blackness was the main port for Linlithgow 4 miles inland, with Linlithgow Palace being one of the main residences of the Scottish Royalty. King James II of Scotland took control of the castle and Crichton lands in 1453, it has remained a Royal castle since.

The castle is open for visits all year, Website with opening times/prices.

Map . Area Accommodation . Area Attractions Map . Large Images .

Blackness Castle Image

The images below are of the tower, harbour, defenses, and great hall. This is a top castle to explore with many information boards explaining the innovative defenses, and how the castle was used. There are good views from the pier and defenses east to the Forth Bridges.

Blackness Castle Images

Blackness Castle History:

1440s - Blackness Castle was built for Sir George Crichton, a prominent landowner in the area. The castle was built at the small harbour that served as a port for the town of Linlithgow 4 miles inland.

The Crichton's were close to the Royals, holding positions such as Governor of Scotland, Governor of Stirling Castle and Constable of Edinburgh Castle.

The Crichton's rival clan was the Douglas, with their stronghold of Tantallon Castle being 30 miles east of Edinburgh.

The Crichton main castle was Crichton Castle 14 miles southeast of Edinburgh.

Many Scottish Clans had long running feuds with neighbouring clans, leading to destroying each others castles, stealing cattle, and murder.

1439 - the Crichton's invited two Douglas to Edinburgh Castle to meet the infant King James II Stewart, then executed the two Douglas on Castle Hill.

The Douglas Clan was seen as wanting to take control of Scotland.

1452, James II murdered Lord Douglas at Stirling Castle to help keep the Stewart's in control of Scotland.

1453 - King James II took control of Blackness Castle and Crichton lands. One of the Royals main residences was Linlithgow Palace 4 miles inland.

Late 1400s, the Royals began using the castle as a state prison, with many of the first prisoners being involved in the Reformation, when Scotland was ending Christain Catholicism in favour of Chistian Protestantism.

Other prisoners were from disputes between Scotland and England during the years of Mary Queen of Scots from the 1540s. King Henry VIII of England wanted to unify Scotland and England by having Mary mary his son Edward.

Battles with England over Mary continued until Mary was executed in England in 1587.

1534 - 1540, Blackness Castle fortifications were extended using advanced innovations of the time.

1650 - during the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell's Army besieged Blackness when they invaded Scotland. Bombardment from land and sea led to the defenders of the castle surrendering and the castle being abandoned.

1667 - Blackness Castle was repaired to serve again as a prison, holding a number of Covenanters, Scots that rebelled against the King's interference in Scotland's church affairs.

1707 - the Union of Scotland and England led to Blackness Castle being used as one of four Scottish fortresses of the British Army, along with Stirling Castle, Dumbarton Castle, and Edinburgh Castle.

1759 to 1815 - Blackness Castle was used to hold French prisoners during a series of conflicts such as the Seven Years' War and Napoleonic Wars, mainly with the French.

1868 - the cast-iron pier was built with a gate and drawbridge, one of the last of its kind to be built in Britain.

1870 - Blackness Castle was used as an ammunition depot for central Scotland. The castle was altered at this time including the building of barracks that can be seen just inside the main entrance.

1919 - after World War One, the castle was run by the Office of Works that oversee the building and maintenance of Royal buildings.

1926 - 1935 - Blackness Castle was restored to its pre 1800s condition.

Today - Blackness Castle is run by Historic Environment Scotland, open to the public most days of the year, with a small entrance fee.

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