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Closeburn Castle, Dumfriesshire


CL0SEBURN CASTLE, probably one of the oldest inhabited houses in Scotland, s situated about a mile east of the Nithsdale village of the same name. The castle, which dates from the late 14th century, stands on a slight eminence and was formerly practically surrounded by a loch, which was drained in 1859, the landward access having been guarded by a moat. The structure is oblong on plan and four storeys and an attic in height, the massive walls reaching a thickness of 10 feet. The walls terminate, about ~o feet above the ground, in a parapet with modern crenellations which rises flush with the walling, a common feature in early towers. The roof and the crenellations of the square cap-house, which crowns the stair-head, have been modernised, and most of the windows have been enlarged.

The basement is vaulted and has no internal communication with the upper floors, and is unlighted. The main entrance is in the West wall at first-floor level, and admits to the Hall, a large vaulted apartment now subdivided, lit by five windows, three having stone seats. In the thickness of the North wall rises the turnpike stair, giving access to all floors. The upper floors have been modernised, but the attic storey is provided with a vaulted ceiling, making three vaulted storeys in all. The building is still occupied and in good repair, and modern extensions adjoin to the South.

This ancient fortalice was a stronghold of the family of Kirkpatrick, which possessed the barony as early as the first half of the i3th century. Of this house came Roger de Kirkpatrick who “made siccar” the Red Comvn at Dumfries in 1305.

Source: The Fortalices and Early Mansions of Southern Scotland 1400 to 1650. Tranter, Nigel. Published by The Moray Press, Edinburgh & London (1935)

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