Cardoness Castle

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Cardoness Castle is situated in Galloway southwest Scotland, 41 miles east of Stranraer, 32 miles west of Dumfries, just off the main A75 road at the west entrance to Gatehouse of Fleet.

The castle and visitor centre have a small fee to enter, open from 1st April to 30th September, 9.30 to 5.30. You can tour the castle rooms and take in the great views from the top.

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This is a late 1400s towerhouse castle built for the MaCulloch's, famous in the area for feuds with neighbouring landowners.

These small towerhouse castles were designed for safety during conflict with neighbouring landowners, that would only have a small army, not to withstand an attack by a large English army.

These disputes were common up to the 1600s, until people realized new laws were being enforced, that meant murdering your neighbour could lead to you being sentenced to a gruesome death.

Alexander MacCulloch shot and killed a neighbour in 1668, leading to him being executed on 'The Maiden', a guillotine in Edinburgh in 1669. Such executions helped make Scotland a safer place, leading to mansions being built instead of castles.

The Maiden can be seen in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Over 150 people were executed on the Maiden between 1564 and 1710.

Cardoness Castle History

1470s - MacCulloch's take control of these lands and build Cardoness Castle. MacCulloch's were known landowners in Galloway from 1296, as one was listed on the Ragman Rolls when Edward I of England took control of Scotland.

1500 - James MacCulloch dies, he was known for many disputes with neighbour's over land.

1513 - Alexander MacCulloch died at the Battle of Flodden in northeast England, a time when Scotland and France were at war with England.

1530s - another Alexander MacCulloch leads a series of raids on the Isle of Man. These raids were retaliation for them attacking Galloway, leading to MacCulloch bringing back many valuables.

1600s - the MacCulloch's hit hard times, borrowing large amounts of money.

1628 - John Gordon took ownership of Cardoness land, leading to a long running dispute between the Gordon's and MacCulloch's.

1668 - Alexander MacCulloch dragged John Gordon's elderly sick widow out of her house and threw her onto a dung hill to die.

1690 - Sir Godfrey MacCulloch shot and killed William Gordon, John Gordon's son. Godfrey MacCulloch fled to France to escape prosecution.

1697 - Godfrey MacCulloch was arrested in Edinburgh and beheaded on the Maiden guillotine.

1752 - Captain John Maxwell inherited Cardoness Castle. The castle had a number of owners from this time and fell into ruin.

1927 - Cardoness Castle was taken over by Historic Environment Scotland. It was partially restored and opened to the public as a visitor attraction.

Cardoness Castle Images