ScotWars - Scottish Military History and Re-enactment
Mugdock Castle

Mugdock Castle was an important seat of one of Scotland's most prominent noble families, the Grahams, from the 13th century until 1945. Sir David de Grahame, one of the early owners of Mugdock lands, was a contemporary of Robert the Bruce and lived during one of Scotland's great struggles against English overlordship. His support for the Scottish cause is well illustrated by his much quoted oath "as long as but a hundred of us remain alive never will we on any condition be brought under English rule". The first stone castle at Mugdock was most probably built by his son around 1372.

This early castle was built around a four sided courtyard. It's four towers did not project beyond the tall curtain walls giving it a less threatening appearance than other castles of it's day. So what remains of the first castle? Parts of the North West tower, portcullis and curtain wall can still be seen but the South West tower has survived best of all and is being carefully restored. It's ground floor was originally a prison and the rooms above first rate suites probably occupied by the owner. From the parapet walk on top of the tower watchmen could view the entire Clyde Valley to the South and the first risings of the Campsies to the North.


The 'Gallant Grahams' continued to be brave and loyal supporters of the Scottish throne. They were well rewarded in 1458 when their Stirlingshire lands became the Barony of Mugdock making the castle the centre of power for miles around. Lord Graham, or the Earl of Montrose as his descendants knew him, had several residences and moved frequently between them. Whilst living at Mugdock he would hold court at the castle, oversee his lands and prepare for war.

During these J
times the castle and it's surrounds changed considerably. A new, larger courtyard was created by building a lower wall around the castle and it's surrounding grounds. The wall was pierced by keyhole-shaped gun loops contrasting strongly with the arrow slits of the castle and curtain walls. Look closely and you can see the holes which reflect the weapons in use at the time of building. New buildings were erected within the courtyard including a domestic range attached to the SW tower. The ruin of this building can still be seen today.


The most famous Graham to live at Mugdock was James, Fifth Earl and first Marquis of Montrose (1612 - 1650). Known as the great Marquis, he was a fine soldier and led the Covenanters against Charles I. However, he gradually became disillusioned with the leaders of the Covenant and took up the cause of the English King, fighting against his old arch-rival, the Marquis of Argyll. In 1650 Montrose was betrayed. He was taken prisoner and hung, drawn and quartered at Edinburgh Cross. His remains were displayed in the main Scottish towns as an example.

Mugdock Castle suffered during these times. It was heavily ransacked and fell into Argyll's hands for a few years, being reclaimed by the Great Marquis, heir in 1655. His father's expensive adventures left the 'Good Marquis' without money. He sold land to rebuild Mugdock but it was always considered a "poor dwelling for a Marquis" from then on.


By 1680 the 3rd Marquis had moved to the grander Buchanan Castle, and until 1836 Mugdock was home to another branch of the Graham family. The walled garden and summerhouse were added by the last Graham residents, three unmarried sisters, around 1820.

Mugdock's next resident was Archibald McLellan, the founder of the McLellan Gallery. He leased Mugdock as a country house and died there in 1854 in the company of his mistress. In 1874 the last house was built at Mugdock. John Guthrie-Smith, the antiquarian, demolished most of the existing buildings and linked his new Scots-baronial mansion to the original South West tower which he used as a smoking room.

The house and Mugdock Estate were sold to Sir Hugh Fraser after World War II and subsequently gifted to Central Regional Council for development as a country park in 1981.



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