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Rothesay Castle

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Rothesay Castle is situated in the town of Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, 42 miles west of Glasgow, with regular Trains between Glasgow and Wemyss Bay, where there are regular Ferries.

The original Castle was built from the early 1200s for Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland, when Scottish Kings were trying to take control of the Western Isles. Many of the Western Isles had been under control of the Norse since the 700s.

The Castle is open for visits 1st April - 31st October, 7 days, 10.00am - 5.45pm, 1 Oct - 31 Mar, 10am to 4pm, closed Thurs and Fri in winter. Postcode: PA20 0DA

Map Large Images Website

See also a large Click On Map for the Island Top Attractions.

The image top is from the Main Square in Rothesay looking towards the Castle. The Main Square is next to the Ferry Terminal in Rothesay.

The next images are of the entrance to Rothesay Castle, with a Bridge across the Moat.

One of the first rooms has a video giving the the History of the Castle.

The Great Hall is the most impressive part of the Castle, with good views over the Town.

The Chapel is in the Courtyard, with steps next to the Chapel to the top of the Ramparts for great views over the Town, and over to the Mainland.

Rothesay Castle History

750s - the Norse / Vikings start to take control of Islands in the north and west of Scotland.

1098 - a Norse King named Magnus Barelegs built a wooden fort at Rothesay.

1200s early - William the Lion, King of Scotland, takes control of the Firth of Clyde and Isle of Bute area from the Norse.

1200s early - William the Lion awards the lands of the Isle of Bute to his relations the Stewards.

1200s early - Rothesay Castle is built for the Stewards where the Norse fort had stood. The Stewards are known as the High Stewards of Scotland.

1230 - the Norse capture the Castle after a three day siege. They failed to hold on to the Castle for long.

1263 - the Norse under Haakon IV attack Rothesay Castle but fail to take control.

1263 2nd October - the Norse engage the Scots troops of King Alexander III at Largs on the Scottish mainland.

The Battle of Largs is indecisive, but leads to the Norse withdrawing from the Western Isles.

1266 - the Treaty of Perth sees the Norse agree to the Western Isles being ruled by Scotland.

1290s - forces of the English King Edward I took control of Rothesay Castle during the First Scottish War of Independence.

1306 - the Scots re-take the Castle after a naval attack led by Sir Robert Boyd of Cunningham, fighting for Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland.

1333 - the English re-take Rothesay Castle for a short time after the Battle of Halidon Hill, during the Second Scottish War of Independence.

1371 - the death of King David II (Bruce) led to the crown passing to Robert Stewart, High Steward of Scotland.

Robert Stewart was the grandson of Robert the Bruce, first of the Stewart Kings, with Rothesay Castle then becoming a Royal residence.

1540s - the Gatehouse / Tower House, was built for more luxurious accommodation and a Great Hall for entertaining.

1650 - 1659 - during the English Civil War, the Castle was occupied by forces of Oliver Cromwell.

1685 - Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll, caused serious damage to the Castle when he led a revolt against King James VII (II of England). The Castle fell into a ruin from that time.

1707 - the Union between Scotland and England leads to Scotland becoming a safer place. Scottish landowners soon begin building grand Mansions to live in rather than their Castles.

1800s early - the gatehouse of Rothesay Castle was used as a Gun Powder store during the Napoleonic Wars.

1870s - Mount Stuart House is built on the Isle of Bute for John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute.

1872 - 1879 - Rothesay Castle is partially restored for the 3rd Marquess of Bute.

1951 - the Castle was gifted to Historic Scotland to serve as a museum. The Green Lady ghost is soon seen by some visitors.

2015 - Sally the Seagull nicks three golf balls from Rothesay Golf Club, taking them to her nest on top of the Castle, two Top Flite and one Ultra. Sally Photo.

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Rothesay Castle Photos