Ancient Monuments

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Wigtown Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Galloway and Wigtown West, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 54.8653 / 54°51'54"N

Longitude: -4.4365 / 4°26'11"W

OS Eastings: 243724

OS Northings: 554996

OS Grid: NX437549

Mapcode National: GBR HHFV.DJQ

Mapcode Global: WH3TT.TZJ3

Entry Name: Wigtown Castle

Scheduled Date: 9 January 2004

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11055

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Wigtown

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Mid Galloway and Wigtown West

Traditional County: Wigtownshire


The monument comprises the remains of Wigtown Castle, a royal castle, which is early Medieval in date and is visible as an earthwork. The monument is located in a field, 300m NW of the River Bladnoch, and 150m NE of the Station Road/Harbour Road junction on the E side of Wigtown burgh.

The existence of the royal castle is implied by documentary evidence by 1264. It was held for the Crown by a keeper whilst the earls of Buchan resided at Cruggleton. Few early Sheriff?s Accounts survive; repair is mentioned in 1265 that might be in relation to preparations to receive envoys from Norway prior to the 1266 Treaty of Perth. Possession of the castle changed hands on a number of occasions over its period of occupation, Robert Bruce, lord of Annandale, and his son Robert seized it in 1286; it was handed over to Edward I in 1291 but was retaken by William Wallace in 1297. It was probably destroyed on the orders of Robert I, around c. 1315 to prevent English reoccupation.

The Bladnoch formerly flowed along the castle's NE side, it was utilised to form a moat around the remaining three sides, with the entrance via a drawbridge on the SW side. The ditch was c. 10m wide and over 3m deep. The castle would have been formed of a bonded masonry curtain wall, enclosing an area measuring c. 80m N-S and E-W, probably with towers at strategic points and the keeper?s accommodation. The flood plain was reclaimed during the 18th century and ploughed for arable use. Capt. R. M'Kerlie excavated the castle's interior in 1830.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described including an area around them within which related archaeological material may be found. It is circular on plan with a diameter of 175m and is outlined in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an example of an early Medieval royal castle. Its role within the Sheriffdom of Wigtownshire and the Wars of Independence increases its importance. Its association with documentary sources and its archaeological potential would be able to contribute to our understanding of the social and political dimensions of the period.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as ?Wigtown Castle?, NX45NW 2.


Barrow G W S 1988, ROBERT BRUCE & THE COMMUNITY OF THE REALM OF SCOTLAND, Edinburgh, 1st ed. 1965.

M?Kerlie P H 1870, HISTORY OF THE LANDS AND THEIR OWNERS IN GALLOWAY, Vol. 1, Edinburgh, 331-332.


Reid R C 1926, ?Some notes on pre-Reformation Wigtown?, TRANS DUMFRIESSHIRE GALLOWAY NATUR HIST ANTIQ SOC 3rd series, Vol. 12, 1924-25, 241-242.

Reid R C 1960, WIGTOWNSHIRE CHARTERS, Publications of the Scottish History Society, 3rd series, Vol. 51, Edinburgh, xli & xlv.

Truckell A E and Williams J 1967, ?Mediaeval pottery in Dumfries and Galloway?, TRANS DUMFRIESSHIRE GALLOWAY NATUR HIST ANTIQ SOC 3rd series, Vol. 44, 1966-67, 133.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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