Cruggleton Castle


In 1423, the prior and monks of Candida Casa obtained another charter to Cruggleton, cancelling the one to John and Gilbert Kennedy.

In 1426, the Duchess of Touraine(1) {sister of William, sixth Earl of Douglas, and afterwards the wife of William, the eighth Earl} bestowed upon William Douglas of Leswalt the lands of Cruggleton, &c., as compensation for Lochnaw, which was confirmed by James I. in a charter dated March 1427. This exercise of power arose from the Douglas family having been created Lords of Galloway.


Lands were then thus unceremoniously disposed of in Galloway, but in many instances only nominally, possession not being obtained. The Kerlies kept possession for some generations after this period, and Candida Casa the superiority, which had been obtained in the manner already stated. The Kerlies, of Irish Celtic origin, appear to have retained all the characteristics of that people, and shared the misfortunes which had attended those of their name McCairills in Ireland.


Instead of exposing the Church, and getting crown charters, they held by their own Celtic laws and ideas, which ended in their ruin. Had they been Normans, a very different result would have followed, for no Norman is known to have forgotten to get a crown charter in these troublous times. Having no crown charter for Cruggleton, &c., at the Reformation, the ruin of the Kerlies was involved in that of the Church of Rome in Scotland.

Facsimile of a drawing in the Bristish Museum'  Circa AD 1566
Image result for cruggleton
Cruggleton Castle is a multi-period archaeological site on coast of the Machars, in the historical county of Wigtownshire in south-west Scotland. It is located at Cruggleton Point, around 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) east of Whithorn and 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) south-east of Sorbie. Excavations in the 1970s and 1980s revealed several periods of use, from the 1st century AD to the 17th century. The first stone tower was built in the 13th century, on an earlier motte.

The castle is located on a high outcrop of shale, which forms a promontory on the east-facing cliff edge, about 40 metres (130 ft) above sea level. The name "Cruggleton" is taken to derive from the rocky nature of the site.

Today the outward remains consist of a narrow section of barrel vaulting in what was the tower. It is known locally as 'The Arch' and is clearly visible from the B7063 Garlieston to Isle of Whithorn road. Formerly supported on metal bands, the stonework has recently been rebuilt and stands around 3 metres (9.8 ft) high. The foundations of several further buildings can be seen across the site. The outline of the motte is still clearly visible, measuring around 31 by 29 metres (102 by 95 ft), as is a broad ditch across the promontory, about 50 metres (160 ft) west of the ruins. The remains are a scheduled monument.



1.  The first Scottish Duchess of Touraine was Margaret, daughter of Robert III Stewart, King of Scotland and Annabel Drummond, who married Archibaled, 4th Earl of Douglas.


This page was last updated on 17 May 2024

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