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Castle Sinclair Girnigoe


(Castle Sinclair; Girnigoe Castle)

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Castles Girnigoe and Sinclair, two neighbouring ruined fortalices on the coast of Wick parish, Caithness, crowning a rocky peninsula, a little W of Noss Head, and 3¼ miles NNE of Wick town. Built mainly at a time unknown to record, and partly in the 16th century, they were the chief strongholds of the Sinclairs, Earls of Caithness; and, of great extent and irregular structure, included an extant five-storied tower, 50 feet high. A room in Castle-Sinclair, said to have been the bedchamber of the Earls, communicated through a trap-door with the sea; and the whole was so strong, by both nature and art, as to be impregnable prior to the invention of gunpowder. In a dark dungeon here, John Garrow, Master of Caithness, was imprisoned (1576-82) by his father, the fourth Earl, whom he had displeased by his lcnity towards the townsfolk of Dornoch. At last his keepers, having kept him for some time without food, gave him a large mess of salt beef, and then withholding all drink from him, left him to die of raging thirst. The singular episode of the coiner Smith (1612) and the Capture of Girnigoe by Sir Rt. Gordon (1623) are recounted in vol. i., pp. 436,532, of Chambers's -Domestic Annals (1858).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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