Scheduled Monument

Caerlaverock Castle and Old Castle,castles,courtyards and harbourSM90046

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Secular: castle; castle
Local Authority
Dumfries And Galloway
NY 02537 65469
302537, 565469


The monument consists of the two castles of Caerlaverock, the old and the new, along with the surviving earthworks associated with the two buildings and the site of the harbour associated with the old castle.

Caerlaverock Castle was the stronghold of the Maxwells, wardens of the West March in the later Middle Ages. The first castle was built by them in about 1220. It is lozenge-shaped on plan and sits on a low mound surrounded by a silted-up moated ditch. It was stone built, possibly supported on oak piles. It is flanked by extensive banks and ditches of enclosures or yards to the SW and NE. The site of its harbour lies to the SW, in woods between the old castle and the present edge of the River Solway.

The old castle was abandoned about 1270, when the present castle was erected. The new castle is an archetype of a medieval stronghold, with its water filled ditch crossed by a bridge leading to a heavily defended gatehouse and into the inner court of the castle. It is approached from the NE, through a round-arched gate of stone set in the boundary of the outer court, now defined by a low bank. The castle's triangular plan is unique in Scotland, and is dominated, at the N apex, by the entrance, a double round-towered gatehouse, which provided the lordly lodging. The curtain wall which forms the triangle is provided with a round tower at each of the two remaining angles. A range of stone buildings was built against each of the curtain walls. The W range dates from the 15th century and the fine Nithsdale Lodging was built against the S and E walls in 1634.

Caerlaverock was abandoned after a seige in 1640 which badly shattered the castle and left it a ruin.

The area to be scheduled measures a maximum of 920m NS by 590m EW, to include both castles and their outer courtyards as well as the remains of the harbour associated with the first castle. The area is outlined in red on the accompanying map. Modern field boundaries are excluded.

(NB Caerlaverock Old Castle was formerly index no. 90047)



No Bibliography entries for this designation

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Caerlaverock Castle

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About Scheduled Monuments

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.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

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Printed: 26/05/2024 22:53