Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Removed


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Date Added
Date Removed:
Local Authority
South Lanarkshire
Planning Authority
South Lanarkshire
NS 68834 59340
268834, 659340

Removal Reason

Dual designation


Partially 13th century with later additions; rebuilt 1336 (Edward III); rebuilt 1362 (3rd Earl of Douglas); fortified 1455 (Black Douglases); now ruined. Pentagonal-plan castle courtyard with high curtain walls; massive circular donjon to W angle; circular-plan towers to S angles; square-plan tower to NE angle. Coursed and squared red sandstone rubble with dressed architraves and machicolations to S; windows to S curtain wall. Rectangular-plan, arcaded former great hall at 1st floor level (stone floor replaced) at E end with storage basement below; remains of chapel adjacent. Modern timber footbridge across internal (dry) moat to donjon; newel staircase giving access to various chambers above. Modern pitched (grey slate) timber and glazed shop projection from rebuilt N wall. Modern timber stair to great hall.

Statement of Special Interest

Property in Care (since 1935) and Scheduled Ancient Monument. Bothwell Castle remains one of the best examples of Scottish medieval architecture and has had a somewhat chequered history, its political and strategic importance has seen it frequently demolished, modified and rebuilt. Now ruined, its development is a physical expression of important events in the Bothwell area over the centuries and, as such, remains an important landmark. It was planned by Walter de Moravia (or Moray) who acquired the land in 1242 and subsequently changed hands and shape several times during the Wars of Independence, before being rebuilt by the 3rd Earl of Douglas, Archibald the Grim, in 1362 (founder of St Bride?s Church; see separate list description) who inherited the castle by marriage. The Black Douglases fortified the castle in 1455, when it reverted to the Crown, and in 1492 it passed to the Red Douglases. In the 17th century, the castle, now in a ruinous state, was given to the Earl of Forfar who built a new mansion using the old castle as a quarry. However this was razed to the ground, the walled garden the only remaining evidence of its existence. In the 19th century, possession passed to the Home family, and afterwards to the Government. Bothwell Castle stands on a rocky promontory protected to the south and west by the River Clyde and by deep and wide ditches (now grassed) to north and east. Defences were further effected by the massive curtain walls which surround the interior courtyard with towers at the angles, a final retreat being the massive circular donjon to the west. This was originally 100 feet high and 60 feet in diameter with walls 15 feet thick, protected by an interior moat and drawbridge; the donjon, most of the south wall and the towers are probably the oldest parts of the castle, dating from the 13th century, the donjon containing well-preserved newel staircases and some fine mouldings. The north and east curtain walls were rebuilt around the turn of the 14th/15th century. Within the main enclosure, (the enceite), the great hall (with stores below) and the chapel adjacent, are sited against the east wall and were probably 15th century constructions; despite the loss of the roof, they remain relatively intact. It seems likely that the original entrance would have been sited in the north curtain wall, probably flanked by towers. Previously just a gap, a wall was constructed in 1987 and a small shop was built projecting into the courtyard.



OSA (1795) pp317-320; NSA (1840) pp787-788; appears on 1st edition OS map, (1862); Groome, ORDNANCE GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND (1892) p180 D MacGibbon & T Ross, THE CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND (1896) pp93-108; WALKS AROUND BOTHWELL (booklet c1974) pp17-19; I Macleod & M Gilroy, DISCOVERING THE RIVER CLYDE (1991) pp115-116; R Fawcett, SCOTTISH ARCHITECTURE FROM THE ACCESSION OF THE STEWARTS TO THE REFORMATION, 1371-1560 (1994), pp13-14; D Burns, A Reid and I Walker (ed), HAMILTON DISTRICT, A HISTORY (1995) p79.

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Bothwell Castle

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Related Designations


    Designation Type
    Scheduled Monument

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

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Printed: 02/12/2023 17:49