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Caerlaverock Castle

Caerlaverock Castle

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In 1220 an estate was granted to Sir John De Maccuswell at Caerlaverock . It became the principal seat of the Maxwell family for 400 years. Sir John started to build a castle but soon found the site unsuitable , perhaps because of the nearby salt marshes of the Solway Firth . Little is now left of this castle.

About 50 years later a new castle was built 200 metres to the north. At this time the Maxwells were Sheriffs of Teviotdale and Dumfries and Sir John and his brother Aymer were Chamberlains of Scotland .

In 1296 Edward I invaded Scotland at the start of the Wars of Independence and the Maxwells were caught up in the conflict . In 1300 Edward entered Galloway and laid siege to the castle with 87 knights and 3000 men . This became one of the best known incidents of the war because because an English soldier kept a detailed account of it .

" Caerlaverock was so strong a castle that it feared no siege before the King came there ..... In shape it was like a shield , for it had but three sides round it , with atower at each corner , but one of them was a double one , so high , so long and so wide that the gate was underneath it , well made and strong , with a drawbridge and a sufficiency of other defences . "
Siege engines were summoned from Lochmaben,Carlisle, Roxburgh ,Jedburgh and Skinburness . The siege did not last long and Lord Maxwell's garrison of just 60 men surrendered. Some were hanged and the rest set free .

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