In 1220 Alexander II granted the lands of Caerlaverock to Sir John Maxwell, Warden of the West March. He built the first castle on the site, however, John’s successor abandoned this castle in favour of a new site a few hundred metres to the north.
The castle's proximity to the English border saw it involved in the Wars of Independence. In 1298 the castle found itself in the direct line of invasion as Edward’s army made its way to the Battle of Falkirk. The sixty man garrison of Caerlaverock, mounted a spirited resistance but ultimately the castle was taken.
A peace treaty of 1328 brought short term security to the border and Caerlaverock was repaired and re-occupied but the attempted coup of Edward Balliol, resulted in yet another attack on the castle; in 1355 Sir Roger Kirkpatrick captured and partially dismantled the castle. Thereafter the castle was once again restored to the Maxwells and underwent rebuilding between 1373-1450.
The castle saw action again as a result of the Scottish Reformation. As the Protestant movement gained traction, the Maxwells remained Catholic. Accordingly they supported Mary Queen of Scots even after her abdication in 1567 resulting in Caerlaverock being besieged in 1570. The castle was captured and partially demolished. In 1593 Lord Maxwell repaired the castle, however the family were stripped of Caerlaverock and all titles following the murder of Sir James Johnstone in 1608.
Caerlaverock along with their other titles, was restored to the Maxwell Clan in 1617. But the family, which remained loyally Catholic, was embroiled in the Bishops War. In 1640 the army besieged Caerlaverock and, after a thirteen week siege, forced its surrender. The castle was slighted and never rebuilt.
Image by @travelswithakilt
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