Mugdock Castle & Mugdock Loch
Mugdock Castle stands on a rocky promontory which rises gently on its eastern
and southern approaches but falls steeply away to the north and west. Protection
to the east, north and west was provided by Mugdock Loch which was much greater
in size in the Middle Ages than it is today. A ridge of volcanic rock running
from east to west just south of the Castle kept the water level high. This
provided the Castle with a natural defence on three sides making it difficult
for attackers to mount an assault.. When this was removed by blasting in
Victorian times, the level dropped by two metres.
The Castle was the administrative centre for the lands of Mugdock. No one
knows how old it is but the Castle is first mentioned in a vellum document dated
24th August 1372. This was an agreement between Sir Patrick Graham and Angus
Hawinroyss over the ownership of land at Boclair and was signed at Mugdock.
As built, the Castle was four-sided. Its four towers were connected by a
curtain wall. Visitors would have entered from the south through a grooved
portcullis gate. Inside was a courtyard, a jail and a courthouse with
accommodation for visiting nobility. A Great Hall was added in the 15th Century
and other minor changes were made following the introduction of gunpowder
including the provision of gun-loops.
Mugdock was attacked twice during the reign of King Charles I (1625-1649).
The first occasion was in 1641, under the instructions of Parliament when James
Graham (qv) the Great Marquis was a political prisoner in Edinburgh
A second attack occurred in 1644, when a small force of Buchanans, acting
on behalf of the Committee of Estates, inflicted serious damage. So bad was this
that parts of the Castle and one of the towers were no longer habitable. In
1647, Mugdock passed into Campbell ownership but was purchased from them by the
2nd Marquis for 50,000 pounds Scots. In 1661, the Restoration Parliament ordered
the Campbells to repay this sum. Around 1655, some of the rubble from the
partially demolished tower was utilised to build a small two-storey house with
crow-stepped gables. For some years, it was home to the 2nd Marquis of Montrose
but was thought to be a poor dwelling for a Marquis.
The walled garden and summer-house between the Castle and the Loch were
constructed around 1820 to 1830. At this time, other members of the family (the
Grahams of Dougalston) stayed in the old house in the courtyard. At one time,
the upper of the two terraces was laid out in formal flowerbeds and the lower
terrace functioned as a grass tennis court. At the east end of the south wall
are the remains of a small building which contained the water pump which
provided the domestic water supply. The remains of the Castle orchard can still
be seen to the west of the Castle which also had its own 9-hole golf course. The
last green was located just outside the Castles main entrance.
Mugdock Castle & Loch
In 1874, the Duke of Montrose granted antiquarian John Guthrie Smith a lease
of the Castle. He had the house demolished in 1875 and replaced it with a large
mansion house in the Scottish Baronial style. It was linked by a covered
passageway to a room on the first floor of the Castles south-west tower. He
also reconstructed the Mugdock Castle stables and built offices and a washhouse
in the inner courtyard. The mansion was last occupied in 1948 and was demolished
100 metres to the north of the south-west tower, at the edge of a steep bank,
lies a ruin lies a stone ruin which is thought to date from the early-16th
Century. Although popularly known as The Chapel, it is doubtful if this was
used for religious purposes. To the north of the Chapel lies a tower with two
arrow slits facing out over Mugdock Loch. It is thought that this may have been
used as a latrine during the Middle Ages.
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