MUGDOCK CASTLE

Mugdock Castle was built by the Graham family no later than 1372. By the seventeenth century its owner was the Royalist commander James Graham, Marquis of Montrose and accordingly the castle was attacked on numerous occasions. Later a house and then mansion were built within the grounds.

History

 

Although the first written record of Mugdock Castle dates from August 1372, when it was owned by Sir Patrick Graham, it is likely the fortification had been built much earlier. The site had been acquired by the Graham family in the mid-thirteenth century when they brought it from the Earl of Lennox and the castle was probably started at that time. Constructed upon a rocky promontory overlooking Loch Mugdock, it was a configured in a rectangular arrangement with a substantial curtain wall connecting four square towers on each corner. It was protected on three sides by the loch which, prior to Victorian quarrying, was significantly deeper than today. The interior included a Great Hall as well as all the ancillary buildings associated with such a residence.

 

Patrick Graham was ennobled as Lord Mugdock in 1458 and it was probably this event which prompted substantial modifications to the castle. The curtain wall was rebuilt to enclose a larger area, as well as incorporate gun-loops, and a Great Hall was also built at this time. In 1505 William Graham was created Earl of Montrose and in 1644 the then owner, James Graham, was created Marquis of Montrose.

 

During the War of Three Kingdoms the castle was owned by James Graham (Marquis of Montrose from 1644). He had fought against the King as a Covenanter commander during the Bishops War but later opposed the subsequent power of the Presbyterian leadership under Archibald Campbell (later Marquis of Argyll). His opposition saw him imprisoned at Edinburgh Castle in 1641 on the orders of Campbell and during his confinement Mugdock was sacked by Lord Sinclair. Graham made repairs to the castle upon his release but it was attacked again in 1644 following his appointment as Captain General of Royalist forces in Scotland. His subsequent campaign saw multiple victories, including the Battle of Inverlochy (1645) where he defeated Campbell, but Graham was ultimately beaten at the Battle of Philiphaugh (1645).

 

Graham fled to exile in Norway but, following the execution of Charles I, was persuaded to return in June 1649 in support of Charles II. However, this time he was unsuccessful and was defeated at the Battle of Carbisdale on 25 April 1650. He fled the field but was betrayed and captured at Ardvreck Castle and then taken to Edinburgh where he was hung and quartered. Archibald Campbell took control of Graham's property, including Mugdock, but was eventually sold back to Graham's son, also called James, for the incredible sum of £50,000. This almost bankrupted him and this was reflected in the modest two-storey house he built within the castle grounds re-using the fallen masonry from former fortification. Campbell himself was executed by Charles II after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 and the £50,000 was refunded to the Grahams.

 

The revived fortunes of the family saw them purchase Buchanan Old House near Drymen in 1682. Mugdock was retained but was used by junior branches of the family until 1875 when it was leased to the antiquarian John Guthrie Smith. He demolished the small house and built a substantial mansion in the Scottish Baronial style. Again this was built within the boundary of the former castle and was connected by a passageway to the south-west tower. Outhouses were built around the structure and gardens laid out. Due to the heavy bombing of Clyde area during World War II, an Anderson Shelter was built in the grounds.

 

Mugdock Castle was purchased by Hugh Fraser, Baron Fraser of Allander in 1945. His death in 1966, coupled with a devastating fire that gutted the building, meant the mansion was demolished in 1967.

 

 

Bibliography

 

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

Coventry, M (2008). Castles of the Clans: the strongholds and seats of 750 Scottish families and clans. Musselburgh.

Cruden, S (1960). The Scottish Castle. Edinburgh.

Dargie, R.L.C (2004). Scottish Castles and Fortifications. GW Publishing, Thatcham.

MacGibbon, D and Ross, T. (1892) The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries. Edinburgh.

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

Tabraham, C (2000). Scottish Castles and Fortifications. Historic Scotland, Haddington.

Tranter, N (1962). The fortified house in Scotland. Edinburgh.

What's There?

Mugdock Castle consists of the remains of the fortification itself and the nineteenth century mansion house built around it. Only one tower of the castle survives to its original height. The ruins are found within the Mugdock Country Park.

Mugdock Castle. The castle was originally configured in a rectangular arrangement with a substantial curtain wall connecting four square towers on each corner. It was substantially rebuilt in the mid-fifteenth century. The castle suffered extensive damage during the Wars of Three Kingdoms and, after hostilities finished, a small mansion house was built within the ruins. This was replaced by a larger house in the nineteenth century. That structure was demolished in 1967.

Tower. One of the four towers survives albeit it has been extensively modified from its original appearance.

Mansion. A substantial mansion house was built in 1875 by John Guthrie Smith. It was gutted by fire in 1966 and was demolished the following year.

Loch Mugdock. The castle was originally surrounded on three sides by Loch Mugdock.

Getting There

Mugdock Castle is accessed via an unnamed road found off Mugdock Road. There is a small car park and the walk to the castle is well sign-posted.

Car Park

G62 8EJ

55.963252N 4.317191W

Mugdock Castle

No Postcode

55.965483N 4.324571W