Cardoness Castle, Kirkcudbrightshire – Clan McCulloch
Located in the far south-west of the country, Cardoness Castle is the historic home of the McCulloch Clan.
Falling under the control of the McCullochs in the mid 15th century, the family would establish their seat in the area during the 1470s, as they built the castle that still stands today. Often at odds with their neighbours, the McCullochs would build strong defences to protect their seat in the event of a dispute with another clan. This would often prove to be required as the McCullochs had a habit of foul play, whether it was the theft of property, attacks on neighbours or even raids by sea on the nearby Isle of Man.
Despite the latter of these crimes paying the clan very well, their constant disputes would eventually catch up with them as their resources struggled to keep up. This would eventually come to a head in the early 1600s as the family were forced to take out a mortgage on the stage, eventually losing it to John Gordon in 1628, the head of a family that the McCullochs had a longstanding feud with.
Not a clan to give up without a fight, the McCullochs would wage war on the Gordons over the next century, shooting dead William Gordon, John Gordon’s son and kidnapping his ailing widow. Sadly for the McCullochs, these actions would not go unpunished as Sir Godfrey McCulloch, the murderer of William Gordon, would be beheaded in 1697 in Edinburgh after returning from a self-imposed exile in France.
Abandoned after Sir Godfrey’s death, the castle would be passed between a variety of owners before finally coming under the control of the state in 1927. Today, it is controlled by Historic Environment Scotland and is open to the public, alongside a more modern visitor centre. Partially reconstructed in the 1920s, the castle remains in good condition despite its abandonment for over 2 centuries. Still partially ruined, Historic Environment Scotland intend to complete a further restoration in the years to come.