Strathaven Castle, South Lanarkshire
~ History ~
1350 ~ Strathaven Castle is built by the Baird family, replacing an earlier wooden defensive structure.
1362 ~ The Douglas Earl, Archibald 'the grim', marries Joanna de Morvia, daughter of the Earl of Strathaven, bringing the castle under the rule of the powerful Douglas Clan.
1400 ~ Archibald dies. Strathaven castle passes to his infant son, also named Archibald, who becomes 4th Earl of Douglas.
1407 ~ Henry Sinclair, the 2nd Early of Orkney, marries Egidia Douglas, daughter of Sir William Douglas of Nithsdale, an illegitimate son of Archibald the Grim.
1424 ~ Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas, is killed in the Battle of Verneuil in France. He is succeeded by his son, another Archibald, who becomes 5th Earl of Douglas.
1439 ~ The 5th Earl Douglas dies from a fever, and is succeeded by his son, William Douglas.
1440 ~ William, the 6th Earl of Douglas is executed. Strathaven castle passes next to William’s great-uncle, James Douglas, later known as James the Gross.
1443 ~ James, the 7th Earl of Douglas, dies and is succeeded as 8th Earl by his son, William.
1452 ~ William Douglas, the 8th Earl of Douglas, is murdered by King James II at Stirling Castle. He was succeeded by his brother, James, as 9th Earl of Douglas who begins a campaign against the King.
1455 ~ King James II responds to fears that the Black Douglas's led by James Douglas are becoming too powerful. He decides to take steps to suppress them. Their lands were confiscated, their castles attacked, and as part of this, Strathaven Castle is reduced to rubble.
1456 ~ The barony and castle of Strathaven are given by the King to his relative Andrew Stewart, an illegitimate grandson of the 2nd Duke of Albany, who builds a new castle on the site of the ruined castle.
1611 ~ The castle and estates are sold to the 2nd Marquis of Hamilton.
1716 ~ The last of the Hamilton family Anne Hamilton, 3rd Duchess of Hamilton, dies. The castle is abandoned.
1736 ~ The neglected castle is badly damaged by lightning, and in January the following year what is left of the roof blows off in a storm.
1740 ~ Other branches of the Hamilton family removed the main gates for reuse in the family tomb, together with any other valuables, and seeing this the townspeople take this as their cue to use what was left as a quarry for building projects in the town.
Stratheven Castle is situated in the middle of the town by the busy main road. The best view of the castle is on the green across the road, as behind the castle there is little remaining and what does remain, is sadly covered in concrete.
The most impressive part of the castle is the decorative tower which still stands to a good height.
Access to the castle is easy from a car park to the side of the castle which stands opposite a busy roundabout, far from an attractive location. Worth a visit to have a quick look round if you are passing through, as sadly little of interest save the main tower is left to explore.