Click for Bookshop

Scalloway Castle

Dating from 1600, the considerable ruined remains of Scalloway Castle lie between the village and the East Voe of Scalloway, on the west coast of the Shetland Mainland. Once a fine L-plan tower house, it was built by Master of Works Andrew Crawford for Patrick Stewart, 2nd Earl of Orkney (1566 - 1615), to replace his mansion at Sumburgh. Crawford was also responsible for Muness Castle, which has similarities with Scalloway. Stewart ruled the Northern Isles like a king and made himself so unpopular that he was eventually arrested and imprisoned in Edinburgh, dying soon after. Thus, he abandoned his castle only 15 years after it was completed. However it continued to be used as the administrative centre for Shetland and was used as a billet for Oliver Cromwell's troops in the 1650s. However, Shetland's capital moved to Lerwick and the castle was abandoned once again. The surrounding buildings were quarried for stone in the mid-18th Century but the castle was placed in the care of the state in 1908 and is now A-listed.

Externally, the castle is substantially complete today. It is entire to its wallheads, standing four storeys high, its dressings are of sandstone brought from the island of Eday in Orkney. The windows are quite large for a tower house, suggesting comfort was more important than defence. The tunnel-vaulted ground floor and first floor are complete, but the upper floors are ruined and the castle roofless. Now under the stewardship of Historic Environment Scotland, it has been subject to a restoration and interpretation boards describing its history were installed within the vaults.


Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better