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Muness Castle Shetland Scotland

Muness Castle Shetland Scotland

Muness Castle, northernmost castle in Great Britain, built in 1598 for Laurence Bruce, half-brother of Robert Stewart, Unst, Shetland Islands, Scotland. Photographic Print of Muness Castle from Robert Harding.

 

Muness Castle was built by Laurence Bruce, the half brother of Robert Stewart, the Earl of Orkney. Laurence Bruce was appointed Sheriff of Shetland and set to work with a corrupt and cruel enthusiasm that was characteristic of the family. When Robert Stewart was succeeded by his son, Earl Patrick, Laurence Bruce felt threatened by the change. He therefore started building Muness Castle in 1598, even before Patrick Stewart set to work on Scalloway Castle. Both castles were designed by Andrew Crawford. Bruce had good reason to feel concerned for his safety. In 1608 Earl Patrick arrived in Unst with 36 men and artillery, intent on capturing or destroying the castle. They might well have succeeded had they not suddenly withdrawn for reasons that have never been explained, but it was only a temporary reprieve. In 1627 French raiders attacked and burned Muness Castle. It seems to have been repaired, but was no longer in use by end of the 1600s. In 1713 the castle was rented to the Dutch East India Company to house the salvaged cargo from the Rhynenburgh, which was wrecked nearby. The Bruce family sold Muness Castle in 1718, and by 1750 its new owners had also abandoned it. The castle was roofless by 1774.

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