Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Drochil Castle - The Borders

Drochil Castle
Drochil Castle

Drochil Castle is a large ruined 16th Century Z-Plan tower house of four storeys and a garret. It consists of an almost square central block with two projecting towers, corbelled out to square above the first floor level, at opposite corners. The basement is barrel-vaulted, and contained the kitchen and cellars. Passages ran the length of the building from which individual chambers were reached – rather than each chamber opening into the next. A turnpike stair rose at one end of the passage. The hall was on the first floor with an adjoining private chamber, while many rooms occupied the floors above.

Drochil Castle was built in the 1570s by James Douglas, Earl of Morton. Morton was made Chancellor of Scotland in 1563, but was dismissed for his part in the murder of Rizzio, Mary's Secretary. He was regent from 1572-8, but in 1581 was tried and executed by the Maiden – the Scottish equivalent of the guillotine – for his part in the murder of Lord Darnley, Mary's husband. Drochil was abandoned about 1630, but is an impressive ruin, although screened by trees.

Wording taken from The Castles of Scotland Third Edition by Martin Coventry

Added: 14 Apr 2010 Updated: 16 Oct 2023
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