Blackness Castle

Tags: UK Castle

Blackness Castle looks across the River Forth to the naval dockyards of Rosyth, and along it to the Forth rail and road bridges.

The castle is first mentioned in 1449, although there had been a port at nearby Blackness serving the royal burgh of Linlithgow since the thirteenth century.

Blackness Castle forms one side of a grassy area surrounded by buildings. Most of these date from fairly recent times. The south range housing the Historic Scotland shop was built as a barracks in the 1870s, while the more ornate west block served as the officers quarters from the same era. The castle came into royal hands in 1453 when the surrounding lands were annexed by King James II. It spent much of the next century serving as a royal prison housing the more prestigious of the King's various enemies.

Much of what you see today dates back to a major reconstruction between 1537 and 1543 under King James V. This transformed Blackness Castle into one of strongest artillery fortifications of its age. This is most obvious in the labyrinthine entrance via the west spur of the south tower, which includes a caponier designed to deal severely with those unwanted visitors who succeeded in getting through the outer gate.

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Keywords: Blackness, Castle, Scotland, Britain



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