Lochmaben Castle

Lochmaben Castle, Dumfries & Galloway

~ History ~

1173 - The timber castle is held by William the Lion of Scotland.

1298 - Edward I chooses a stronger site on a promontory by the loch to the south of the timber fort to consolidate his hold on Scotland after his victory over William Wallace at Falkirk.

1299 - Robert the Bruce attacks the timber fort. Following this attack the timber castle is strengthened.

1301 - Robert the Bruce returns with an army of 7,000 Scots.

1306 - The castle falls to Robert the Bruce but is soon recovered before finally being surrendered after the English defeat at Bannockburn.

1333 - The castle is recovered by the English and remains in English hands for the next 50 years.

1360's - King Edward III has the castle rebuilt in stone.

1373 - Repairs are made to the castle by the constable, Bohun Earl of Hereford.

1375 - Two towers are roofed and a drawbridge is constructed.

1384 - Archibald the Grim, the Douglas Lord of Galloway, besieges and captures the castle.

1396 - The English return and once more recover the castle.

1410 - The Maxwells become hereditary keepers of the castle.

1451 ~ King James II invades Douglas territories including the capture of Lochmaben Castle and razing Castle Douglas to the ground. This forces the Black Douglas to return to Scotland from Rome to join his allies John MacDonald, Lord of the Isles and the Earl Crawford in their resistance against the King's hostile plans to destroy the alliance. The Lord of the Isles responds into open revolt and marches his clansmen towards Inverness, capturing the town and Urquhart and Ruthen Castles. The Kings is too preoccupied taking the fight to the Douglas's in the Lowlands to be able to respond to the Highlands threat.

1542 - King James V musters his army at the castle before leading them to defeat at Solway.

1565 - Mary Queen of Scots and her first husband Darnley banquette the castle

1588 - Following the Maxwells rebellion against James VI, he besieges and captures the castle and awards the coveted title of Warden of the West March to their bitter rival Johnston Earl of Annandale. The castle is abandoned for the last time and becomes ruinous.


4 miles West of Locherbie


A709, B7020


DG11 1LP

Once an important and powerful castle, Lochmaben consists of a complex of very ruinous buildings, dating in part from the 13th century, with a 15th century keep. It had a strong curtain wall, and was surrounded by a moat. An older castle, of which only a motte survives, is where Robert the Bruce, Later Robert I, King of Scots, was born.

Much stonework standing to a considerable height still remains although there is hardly any surviving features as nearly all the ashlar facing was robbed in the 18th century. The castle was designed as an open court with wooden buildings against unusually thick curtain walls. A canal was dug connecting the moat to the loch.