Blackness Castle, Blackness – Clan Crichton
Located to the east of the town of Bo’ness, Blackness Castle guards the southern banks of the Firth of Forth from its prominent location at the head of Blackness Bay.
The castle was built in the 1440s by Sir George Crichton and is likely to have been constructed on the site of an even older fort. The structure was probably built as a line of defence for the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow – which was one of the main residences of the Scottish monarch at the time – and would remain in the hands of the Crichtons until 1453 when it came under the control of James II and the crown of Scotland.
Blackness would be go on to serve multiple different purposes over the years and was used as a Royal Fortress and a prison until it was badly damaged following an artillery bombardment by Oliver Cormwell’s forces in 1650. It would then be the location of a garrison of the British Army following the Union of Scotland England in 1707 before briefly serving as a prison again – hosting French prisoners of war during the Seven Years’ War and the Napoleonic Wars. It would finally be used as an ammunition depot for Scotland from 1870 until 1912 when it finally ceased to be operational as a functional building.
The castle itself is comprised of two towers – north and south – which are connected to a ‘curtain wall’ and a separate central tower located inside the courtyard. It has been open to the public since its restoration between 1926 and 1935 and has been used as a location in the filming of several productions including the 1996 film The Bruce and the popular contemporary television series Outlander.