Cardoness Castle is situated in Galloway southwest
Scotland, 41 miles east of Stranraer, 32 miles west of Dumfries, just off the main A75 road at the
west entrance to Gatehouse of Fleet.
The castle and visitor centre have a small fee to
enter, open from 1st April to 30th September, 9.30 to
5.30. You can tour the castle rooms and take in the
great views from the top.
Map / DG7 2EH .
Area Click On Map . 12 Large Images .
This is a late 1400s towerhouse castle built for
the MaCulloch's, famous in the area for feuds with
These small towerhouse castles were designed for
safety during conflict with neighbouring landowners,
that would only have a small army, not to withstand
an attack by a large English army.
These disputes were common up to the 1600s, until
people realized new laws were being enforced, that
meant murdering your neighbour could lead to you
being sentenced to a gruesome death.
Alexander MacCulloch shot and killed a neighbour
in 1668, leading to him being executed on 'The
Maiden', a guillotine in Edinburgh in 1669. Such
executions helped make Scotland a safer place,
leading to mansions being built instead of
The Maiden can be seen in
the National Museum of
Scotland in Edinburgh. Over 150 people were
executed on the Maiden between 1564 and 1710.
Cardoness Castle History
1470s - MacCulloch's take control of these lands
and build Cardoness Castle. MacCulloch's were known
landowners in Galloway from 1296, as one was listed
on the Ragman Rolls when Edward I of England took
control of Scotland.
1500 - James MacCulloch dies, he was known for
many disputes with neighbour's over land.
1513 - Alexander MacCulloch died at the Battle of Flodden in
northeast England, a time when Scotland and France
were at war with England.
1530s - another Alexander MacCulloch leads a
series of raids on the Isle of Man. These raids were
retaliation for them attacking Galloway, leading to
MacCulloch bringing back many valuables.
1600s - the MacCulloch's hit hard times, borrowing
large amounts of money.
1628 - John Gordon took ownership of Cardoness
land, leading to a long running dispute between the
Gordon's and MacCulloch's.
1668 - Alexander MacCulloch dragged John Gordon's
elderly sick widow out of her house and threw her
onto a dung hill to die.
1690 - Sir Godfrey MacCulloch shot and killed
William Gordon, John Gordon's son. Godfrey MacCulloch
fled to France to escape prosecution.
1697 - Godfrey MacCulloch was arrested in
Edinburgh and beheaded on the Maiden guillotine.
Cardoness Castle was abandoned around this time.
1927 - Cardoness Castle was taken over by Historic
Environment Scotland. It was partially restored and
opened to the public as a visitor attraction.