From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Cardoness Castle

Dumfries and Galloway
54° 52′ 20.28″ N, 4° 11′ 52.8″ W
Late 15th Century

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Cardoness Castle is a ruined tower house located neat the village, Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries and Galloway.

Originally, a motte and bailey castle was built in 1170, close to the present site of the tower. Due to a dispute with Dundrennan Abbey the castle was lost.

The lands of Cardoness were taken over by the McCulloch family in 1466. Soon after the tower house was built. The English became aware of the tower in the 1560's when a spy reported its existence to Queen Elizabeth I, while she planned an invasion of Scotland.

The tower was sold to the Gordon's of Ardwall in 1622. A feud between the McCullochs and the Gordons ended in 1690 when Sir Godfrey McCulloch killed William Gordon of Buck o'Bield. Sir Godfrey escaped to France, but was then spotted in Edinburgh, upon his return in 1697. He beheaded on the Maiden, the Scottish equivalent of the guillotine.

Cardoness Castle was abandoned, passing through a number of owners before the state took over the care in 1927. It has been protected as a scheduled monument since 1928, and is now maintained by Historic Environment Scotland. The castle is open to the public.