Galdendoch Castle was built in the mid-sixteenth century by Gilbert Agnew of Lochnaw. It remained in use for around 150 years as the family seat of the Agnews of Galdenoch but attempts to establish salt pans on their estates, coupled with fines for Covenanting, overwhelmed them with debt which eventually forced them to sell the tower.



Galdendoch Castle was built between 1547 and 1570 by Gilbert Agnew of Lochnaw. He was the younger son of Sir Andrew Agnew, Baron of Lochnaw who was killed fighting the English at the Battle of Pinkie (1547). Andrew's elder son - Sir Patrick Agnew - inherited the main family estates centred on Lochnaw Castle whilst Gilbert was granted the land around Galdendoch, located one mile to the west. The division of the estates created a new cadet branch of the family - the Agnews of Galdendoch - and accordingly the castle was built as their family seat.


The castle took the form of a three storey (plus attic) L-plan Tower House. The main rectangular block consisted of a vaulted ground floor, a hall on the first floor and accommodation (divided into two separate chambers) on the floor above. The adjoined wing was occupied by a turn-pike staircase that provided access to all levels whilst an additional mural stair provided entry into one of the second floor chambers. The entrance into the castle was on the ground floor through the wing tower. Galdendoch Burn provided a water source for the site.


Gilbert died around 1570 and was succeeded by his son, Uchtred Agnew. In an attempt to establish a stable income, he commissioned the construction of salt pans at Galdendoch. An Englishman, Alexander Ozburn, built the facilities which were then re-let to Ralph Ozburn for £600 per year. However, the rents were not paid and the family ran into financial troubles. The associated debts only worsened following Uchtred's death in 1635 as Galdendoch passed to his son, Patrick Agnew, who was a committed Covenanter and received a bankrupting fine of £1000 as a result. When Patrick died in 1667 his estates passed to his son, also called Patrick. By this stage the Agnews of Galdendoch had become overwhelmed by debt and Patrick had little choice but to sell up. The tower was sold to Sir James Agnew, Baron of Lochnaw and re-absorbed into the estates of the primary branch of the family. With his main residence at Lochnaw Castle, James had little use for Galdendoch Castle which was abandoned around this time.





Agnew, A (1864). The Agnews of Lochnaw: a History of the Hereditary Sherifs of Galloway.

CANMORE (2016). Galdendoch Castle. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Gifford, J (1996). Dumfries and Galloway. The Buildings of Scotland. Penguin, London.

Hooper, J (1789). Antiquities of Scotland. Vol.2. Wigtonshire.

M'Kerlie, P.H (1906). History of the lands and their owners in Galloway. RCAHMS, Musselburgh.

Simpson, W.D (1959). Scottish Castles - An introduction to the Castles of Scotland. HM Stationery Office, Edinburgh.

Stell, G (1996). Dumfries and Galloway: Exploring Scotland's Heritage. Edinburgh.


What's There?

Galdendoch Castle is in a ruinous condition. The exterior can be viewed but, due to unstable masonry, there is no access to the interior.

Galdendoch Castle. The castle was built in an L-plan configuration.

Getting There

Galdendoch Castle is found off the B738 approximately five miles north-west of Stranraer. There is a small car park on-site and visitors may wish to visit the small Iron Age promontory fort that is accessible via a right of way from the car park.

Galdendoch Castle / Car Park


54.922608N 5.163815W

Iron Age Fort

No Postcode

54.907246N 5.177235W