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Cardoness Castle

Cardoness Castle

This castle, now mainly in ruins, stands on a rocky outcrop in a commanding position above Fleet bay. The site has been changed from what was originally an ideal defensive position by the building of a coastal road, which makes access far easier. Few traces of the less important buildings to the south and east remain, but the rectangular tower is still quite well preserved.

This tower, built in the 15th Century on an oblong plan. consists of the ground floor with entresol and three upper storeys. The entrance, which was in the south wall, was probably guarded by an iron yett and wooden door. On the west side of this entrance was the guardroom, which was really only a small recess built into the passage and lit by a loophole. Also off the main entrance was a second passage leading at the east end to the turnpike stair. The ground floor has been made into two cellars and in the corner of one are circular recesses or what may have been fodder troughs or pickling tubs. In the vault of the ground floor is an entresol with mural chambers built on the south and east walls, each containing a trap, one a "murder hole" overlooking the entrance and the other allowing sole access to a pit-prison. The great hall is situated on the first floor and contains a fine late Gothic fireplace with decorated aumbry on one side and salt box on the other, the usual stone-seats at two of the windows and four mural chambers with garderobes.

On the floor above were two rooms of which only a partition remains, the floors are missing. The western of these rooms, which contains a large carved fireplace, could be reached by a straight stair from the turnpike, while the eastern room could be entered both from the straight stair and directly from the turnpike. It is still just possible to judge the floor level of the attics above from the moulded corbels on the west wall, and there are also signs of a former wall walk, protected by a crenellated parapet.

South of the tower is an almost level platform which at an earlier date was probably enclosed to form an outer bailey. Evidence of other buildings in this courtyard still exists and suggests that there was a kitchen here and quarters for retainers.

Cardoness Castle was for centuries the ancient seat
of the McCuIlochs of Galloway who acquired the land in 1450, but it later passed to the Gordons. Located about a mile south-west of Gatehouse of Fleet.

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