Caerlaverock is unlike any other castle in Scotland..

A triangular plan with an immense twin tower gate house and imposing corner towers. Girted by two moats and surround by marshland the castle base itself stands on what was once a rock out cropping. The great machicolations contructed in the fifteenth century likely have French influnce.

The history of its builders can be traced to Undwin and his son Maccus in the eleventh century; Maccus gave his name to the barony of Maccuswell, or Maxwell. His grandson, John de Maccuswell (d.1241), was first Lord Maxwell of Caerlaverock. The baronies of Maxwell and Caerlaverock then passed down through the male line, sometimes collaterally. Robert de Maxwell of Maxwell, Caerlaverock and Mearns (d.1409) rebuilt Caerlaverock and was succeeded by Herbert Maxwell of Caerlaverock (d.1420) who married Katherine Stewart.

The lands of Clan Maxwell being very close to the border with England had to be defended several times against English forces. One such occasion was the Siege of Caerlaverock of 1300 by Edward I of England who had eighty seven of the most illustrious barons of England in his host, including knights of Bretagne and Lorraine. The Maxwells, under their gallant chief, made a vigorous defence, showering upon their assailants such heavy missiles that they retired time end again; but in the end the garrison were compelled to surrender, when it was found that there were only sixty men all told, and that they had defied the whole English army for a considerable period.

Possession of the castle was subsequently restored to Sir Eustace Maxwell, Sir Herbert's son, who at first embraced the cause of John Baliol, and in 1312 received from Edward Il an allowance of £20 for the more secure keeping of the castle. He afterwards gave in his adherence to Robert Bruce, and his castle, in consequence, underwent a second siege by the English, in which they were unsuccessful. But fearing that this important stronghold might ultimately fall into the hands of the enemy, and enable them to make good their hold on the district, Sir Eustace dismantled the fortress, a service and sacrifice for which he was liberally rewarded by Robert Bruce.

Caerlaverock - Castle of the Sky Lark
read the poem "May Heart is Caerlaverock" by macusweil
Take an online walking tour of Caerlaverock here.
Design & layout by: Mark A. Maxwell Contact: maxwell@caerlaverock.org

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