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Douglas Castle


(Castle Dangerous, Douglas Estate)

The ruins of Douglas Castle are located on the Douglas Water, a half-mile (1 km) north northeast of the settlement of Douglas in South Lanarkshire Council Area, and has long been linked with the Douglas family. The original castle was built in the years before 1300. Over the centuries the castle was besieged, destroyed, burnt down and repeatedly re-built, along with the fortunes of the family. Archibald, Duke of Douglas (1694 - 1761), commissioned John Adam (1721-92) to build a grand modern mansion in 1751 but this was demolished in 1938 after a coal seam opened beneath. The house also had a grand stable block which could accommodate 100 horses. What remains on the hill above the site of this mansion is the corner tower of an earlier castle (probably early 18th Century) which was retained as a folly and used by Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) as the setting for his novel Castle Dangerous.

On the death of the Duke of Douglas, the estate became the subject of a bitter legal dispute, known as the 'Douglas Cause', between his nephew Archibald Douglas, 1st Baron Douglas and a cousin, the Duke of Hamilton. The Estate is now the property of the Douglas-Home family (Earls of Home), their principal residence being The Hirsel in the Scottish Borders.

During the Second World War the estate was used by the army as a transport depot and around 4000 Polish soldiers were stationed here for a time following the evacuation from France. A prisoner-of-war camp was also established on the estate at Happendon, a mile (1.5 km) northeast of the castle.

The Estate is actively farmed but accessible by the public, with way-marked walks established around the picturesque Stable Lake, to the Cameronian Monument and Castle Dangerous.


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