Myrton Tower, Dumfries and Galloway
East of Port William
B road off A7021
Near DG8 9LB
Myrton Tower is a ruined four storey 16th century L-plan tower house built on a 12th century motte. It was also once defended by a wet moat overlooking the White Loch of Myrton.
Today it is hidden from the road by trees and is covered in thick ivy.
Visiting the main tower house, you will also find remains to the castle outer buildings, which once included stables, a chapel, barns, kitchen and bakery, that you can also explore.
Access from the road is via a driveway to a cottage that backs on to the castle grounds. With consideration you can pack on thr road and take the driveway up into the woods where you will find the tower peering through the trees. Once you see this head into the woodlands towards the tower in order to respect the privacy of the family who live in the cottage.
~ History ~
1296 ~ The MacCulloch's do homage to King Edward I of England following his conquest of Scotland. The three representatives of Clan MacCulloch have their names and seal, along with other clan chiefs, added to the Ragman Roll.
'Thomas Mackulagh, the Count Wiggetone, is the first Gallovidian Scot to apply his seal rendering homage to Edward'. His brothers Michael and William follow in his steps.
1305 ~ Thomas MacCulloch is made Sheriff of Wigtown.
1306 ~ Following Robert the Bruce's coronation as King of Scotland, the pro-Balliol MacCulloch's and their supporters have much of the lands and power stripped from them.
1353 ~ The MacCulloch's swear allegiance to King David II of Scotland.
1360 ~ Patrick MacCulloch receives compensation of 100 merks for his clans sufferings and loss of land in Scotland during their staunch support of King John Balliol and through him to King Edward I.
1363 ~ Patrick's son, Sir Patrick MacCulloch, has the family's Scottish lands restored to them by King David II, a final sign that the clan had once more regained the King's trust and favour. The clan are able to put more than 500 warriors into the saddle to protect the coastline from raiders from Ireland, Wales and the Isle of Man, which is a concern for the Scottish Crown.
1450 ~ The MacCulloch's commence building of a mighty tower at Cardoness.
1471 ~ The unruly and violent 2nd laird, James MacCulloch, is outlawed.
1480 ~ Following a reprieve James MacCulloch is again outlawed.
1489 ~ Thomas MacCulloch, James's grandson, besieges the Adair's of Dunskey Castle. Soon afterwards he plunders the castle of his kinsman, MacCulloch of Adair.
1503 ~ Sir Alexander MacCulloch, the King's Master Falconer and Sheriff of Wigtown, who is said "for the greater part of his life...in close, even intimate, touch with the royal circle", from his base at Myrton Castle, torches the Kennedy's fortress of Dunskey Castle.
Married to Marjorie, the daughter of the 2nd Lord Sinclair, and granddaughter of the Earl of Rothes in Moray, the well connected Sir Alexander is often seen travelling to the Orkneys and Shetlands on the king's business to purchase falcons.
1504 ~ King James IV visits Myrton Castle during a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Ninian at Whithorn. The King grants a charter to Sir Alexander elevating the castle to a Barony. He returns seven years later to repeat the pilgrimage.
1516 ~ Cardoness Castle and its lands pass within the clan to Alexander MacCulloch.
1530's ~ Alexander raids the Isle of Man.
1580 ~ King James VI of Scotland and later I of England, passes the barony to the clan's heir, William MacCulloch.
1600's ~ Additional building work is undertaken on the castle.
1622 ~ King James I re-grants the barony to Doctor John MacCulloch.
1634 ~ MacCulloch of Myretoun is raised to the rank of baronet of Nova Scotia by King Charles I.
1690 ~ Following a long standing fued between the MacCulloch's and the Gordan's, which has seen the MacCulloch's lose Cardoness Castle to the Gordan's due to their acute financial difficulties, Sir Godfrey MacCulloch decides to take matters into his own hands by force. He arrives at Bush o'Bield, the Gordan's house, 'with the intent of murdering him'. The moment Gordan appeared at the door, Sir Godefrey shoots him through the thigh. Gordan dies from his injury six hours later.
On hearing that the injury proved fatal, Sir Godefrey makes his escape abroad.
1696 ~ Sir Godefrey returns to Scotland hoping the muder incident was long forgotten or certainly less known in Edinburgh.
Whilst visiting a church, unfortunately for Sir Godefrey, a man from Galloway recognises him and shouts 'Shut the doors, there is a murderer in the house!'. Sir Godefrey is arrested, tried and condemned.
1697 ~ Sir Godefrey is the last criminal in Scotland to be beheaded by The Maiden - the Scottish equivalent of the guillotine. Before his execution he sells the barony to Sir William Maxwell of Monteith.
1790 ~ The castle is abandoned.