Inverness Castle
Inverness Castle sits on a cliff overlooking the River Ness, in Inverness, Scotland. The red sand stone structure evident today was built in 1836 by architect William Burn. It is built on the site of an 11th century defensive structure. Today, it houses Inverness Sheriff Court. There has been a castle at this site for many centuries. The castle itself is not open to the public but the grounds are.

History of Inverness Castle

Early medieval history
A succession of castles has stood on this site since 1057. The castle is said to have been built by Máel Coluim III of Scotland, after he had razed to the ground the castle in which Macbeth of Scotland according to much later tradition, murdered Máel Coluim's father Donnchad I of Scotland, and which stood on a hill around 1 km to the north-east. The first Inverness Castle was partially destroyed by King Robert I of Scotland and a replacement castle was sacked in the 15th century. Scotland held a parliament in the castle to which the northern chieftains were summoned, of whom three were executed for asserting an independent sovereignty.

Raid on Ross and Inverness
Raid on Ross, 1491, Ewen Cameron XIII Chief of Clan Cameron and a large body of Camerons, joined by Alexander MacDonald of Lochalsh, Clan Ranald of Garmoran and Lochaber and the Chattan Confederation - who they must have made peace with on a raid into the county of Ross-shire. During the raid they clashed with the Clan Mackenzie of Kintail. They then advanced from Lochaber to Badennoch where they were even joined by the Clan Mackintosh. They then proceeded to Inverness where they stormed Inverness Castle and MacKintosh placed a garrison in it. The Lords of Lochalsh appear at this time to have had strong claims upon the Camerons to follow them in the field. They were superiors under the Lord of the Isles of the lands of Lochiel in Lochaber, in addition to the claims of a close marriage alliance (Ewen married a daughter of Celestine of Lochalsh). This would serve to explain the quite unusual mutual participation under a common banner between the Camerons and Mackintoshes in this raid.

Mary, Queen of Scots

In 1548 another castle with tower was completed by George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly (1514-1562). He was constable of the castle until 1562. The castle was later taken by the Clan Munro and Clan Fraser who supported Mary Queen of Scots in 1562. Robert Mor Munro, 15th Baron of Foulis, chief of the Clan Munro was a staunch supporter and faithful friend of Mary Queen of Scots and he consequently was treated favourably by her son James VI. George Buchanan states, that when the unfortunate princess went to Inverness in 1562 and found the gates of the castle shut against her; "as soon as they heard of their sovereign's danger, a great number of the most eminent Scots poured in around her, especially the Frasers and Munros, who were esteemed the most valiant of the clans inhabiting those countries in the north". These two clans took Inverness Castle for the Queen, which had refused her admission. The Queen later hanged the governor, a Gordon who had refused her admission. George Buchanan's original writings state:

Which translates in English as:

Civil War
During the Civil War later occupiers of the castle had held out against a siege by royalist James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose in 1645. In 1649 a large royalist force stormed Inverness Castle. Among the commanders were Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine, Colonel John Munro of Lemlair, Colonel Hugh Fraser and Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty. They were all opposed to the authority of the current parliament. They assaulted the town and took the castle. They then expelled the garrison and raised the fortifications. However on the approach of the parlimentry forces led by covenanter General David Leslie all of the clans retreated back into Ross-shire. However the Mackenzies left a garrison of men in the castle and Leslie withdrew to deal with a rising in the south.

Jacobite risings
In 1715 the Clan MacKay took the side of King George I and defended Inverness Castle against the Jacobites. In 1725 the Castle was extended and reinforced by General George Wade after the initial early Jacobite Uprisings. In 1745 when the second major Jacobite Uprisings began Inverness Castle was defended against the Jacobites by an Independent company from the Clan Ross who supported the British government. However soon afterwards when it was held by General Sir John Cope it fell to the Jacobite rebel leader Bonnie Prince Charlie who levelled it using explosive charges.

The current Inverness Castle was built in 1836 on the site of the old one which was destroyed in 1746.It got burnt down in 1746.

£50 notes
An illustration of the castle has featured on the reverse side of £50 notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland, which were introduced in 2005.

“ Audito Principis periculo magna Priscorun Scotorum multitudo partim excita partim sua spoute afferit, imprimis Fraserie et Munoroii hominum fortissimorum in illis gentibus familiae. ” “ That as soon as they heard of their Sovereign's danger a great number of the ancient Scots poured in around her, especially the Frasers and Munros, which were esteemed the most valiant families inhabiting those countries. ”

Building Activity

  • removed a media
    about 6 years ago via