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Craignethan Castle, Lesmahagow
(3.9/5 based on 30+ reviews on the web)
Craignethan Castle is a ruined castle in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. It is located above the River Nethan, a tributary of the River Clyde, at. The castle is two miles west of the village of Crossford, and 4.5 miles north-west of Lanark. Built in the first half of the 16th century, Craignethan is recognised as an excellent early example of a sophisticated artillery fortification, although its defences were never fully tested.HistoryThe barony of Draffane, in which Craignethan was located, was a property of the Black Douglases until their forfeiture in 1455. The land was granted to the Hamilton family, and in 1530 was given by James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran to his illegitimate son James Hamilton of Finnart.James Hamilton of Finnart had travelled in Europe, and had become an accomplished architect and military engineer. Appointed Kings Master of Works, he was responsible for the defences at Blackness Castle, as well as the renaissance facades of Linlithgow Palace. At Craignethan, he set out to build a "showcase" to display his talents in both domestic and military architecture.Despite his earlier Royal favour, Hamilton was executed for treason in 1540, and his properties were forfeit to the crown. The Hamilton family, in the person of the 2nd Earl of Arran, regained Craignethan Castle two years later. The second earl added a large outer courtyard to the west of the castle. Arran, who became Duc de Châtellerault following Mary, Queen of Scots' marriage to the French Dauphin, served as regent in her infancy. However, he later opposed Mary's second marriage to Lord Darnley, and was forced to surrender his castles at Craignethan and Cadzow.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Very hard to find, because the inhabitants of the countries around you are not aware of this castle. As the building is not much, but it's very nice the context: I think the only Castle built into a pit instead of on the Hill. Spectacular underground passage. Included in the Historic Scotland explorer pass. Among other things we found the staff very kind and nice lady.
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  • Although the weather was vile when we visited it was a lovely castle you could imagine it whole and functioning. We will return another time in better weather ideal spot for a picnic but not in a mons...  more »
  • Very informative lady in shop/selling tickets. Unusual design, incredible history, although a ruin still able to access stairs on all levels + walk on the ramparts!! 
Google
  • This has to be one of the more interesting castles and definitely a bit of a hidden gem and absolutely worth a visit. The lady (sorry I forgot your name) in charge was delightful and very enthusiastic. Historic Scotland can either pick their staff well or working at their properties makes you a very happy and why wouldn't it.
  • A bit awkward to get to - lots of single track roads, but a great castle to explore once you are there. If you like spiral staircases, underground vaults and interesting rooms to explore, this is a fun and reasonably child friend castle.
  • This was a nice place, was a nice little trip. Some decent history there though
  • Lots of different areas to explore and plenty of information to explain features and timelines.
  • Absolutely beautiful, a hidden gem. Great place to take the children and dogs allowed to as long as they are on the lead. We will definitely return.