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Blackness Castle was built in the 15th century by one of the area’s richest families. Set on the banks of the Firth of Forth, it boasts enviable views across the river to the Ochil Hills in Fife. Built by the Crichtons, unlike their homely Crichton castle, Blackness castle was intended as a stronghold, and later served as a prison and more recently an ammunition depot.
Appearing as though a stone ship that has run aground, Blackness projects imperiously out into the Firth of Forth, having been converted into an artillery fortification. Having long withstood invading (English) forces, the castle was finally captured by Oliver Cromwell’s bombardment in 1650. Ill-suited for the needs of any family wealthy enough to maintain it, and an important defensive structure, the castle later became a prison for religious dissidents. Later returned to a military role, the castle would house foreign prisoners of war including Spanish sailors, French soldiers and during the War of Independence, early United States servicemen.
Up until the beginning of the First World War, the castle was employed for a military purpose as the ammunition dump. After this final military role, the castle was rebuilt to appear more medieval, although such features may not truly realise the castle’s authentic designs. However, such a condition in a heavily defensive castle is rare, leading many visitors and the occasional moviemaker.
Blackness, West-Lothian, EH49 7NHView Larger Map