Broughty Castle

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Broughty Castle


Broughty Castle.jpg
Broughty Castle
Location: 56°27’46"N, 2°52’13"W
Town: Broughty Ferry
Built 1547–1550
Owned by: Historic Scotland
Website: Broughty Castle

Broughty Castle is a historic castle on the banks of the River Tay in Broughty Ferry, Angus.

The castle was completed around 1495, although the site was earlier fortified in 1454 when George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus received permission to build on the site. His son Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus was coerced into ceding the castle to the crown. The main tower house forming the centre of the castle with four floors was built by Andrew, 2nd Lord Gray who was granted the castle in 1490.


The Rough Wooing

The castle saw military action during the closing stage of the 16th-century War of the Rough Wooing. After the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in September 1547, the castle was surrendered by purchase to the English by its owner, Lord Gray of Foulis.[1] A messenger from the castle, Rinyon (Ninian) Cockburn, who spoke to the Duke of Somerset before the castle was rendered was given a £4 reward. The Scottish keeper, Henry Durham, was rewarded with an English pension, income from the fishing, and an import/export licence. Durham later lent Somerset £138.[2][3] William Patten, who accompanied Somerset on his expedition, noted the castle's strategic importance;
"it standeth in such sort at the mouth of the river Tay, that being gotten, both Dundee and St. John's Town [Perth], and many other towns else shall become subject to this hold or be compelled to forego their use of the river."[4]

The position of the old castle itself was advantageous to modern warfare, as it was discovered that the swift river current made naval bombardment impractical.[5] Soon after taking possession, the English garrison further fortified Broughty by building a ditch across the landward side of the castle's promontory. Edward Clinton began the refortification, with the advice of an Italian engineer, Master John Rossetti, and left 100 men guarded by three ships. The garrison was first led by Sir Andrew Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland's brother, who hoped to distribute copies of Tyndale's Bible in Dundee.[6]

Andrew Dudley wrote in October 1547 that; "never had a man had so weak a company of soldiers given to drinking, eating and slothfulness," although, "the house stands well."[7] The town of Dundee agreed to support the garrison and resist the Governor of Scotland, Regent Arran on 27 October 1547. The Constable of Dundee, John Scrimgeour, and the baillies and council signed the agreement, although under the duress of Dudley's two gunships.[8]

The Earl of Argyll tried to capture the castle on 22 November 1547 and again in January 1548 with 150 men lead by the soldier Duncan Dundas, without success.[9] Thomas Wyndham brought two more ships in December 1547 and burnt Balmerino Abbey on Christmas Day.[10] On 12 January 1548, one hundred matchlock guns were delivered from Berwick, with powder flasks, matches, touch-boxes, and bullet moulds.[11]

Mary of Guise, the infant Queen's French mother, assumed effective rule in Scotland and determined to reduce Broughty, watching from across the water the final, successful assault by a French force over several days in February 1550. Of the French, 240 were injured and 50 killed.[12]

War of the Three Kingdoms

The castle was attacked again, in 1651, by General Monck and his Parliamentary army during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. On this occasion the Royalist defenders fled without a fight. After 1666, when the Gray family sold the castle, it gradually became more ruinous.

Military and modern use

In 1846 the castle was bought by the Edinburgh and Northern Railway Company in order to build an adjacent harbour for their railway ferry. In 1855 the castle was acquired by the War Office with the intention of using it to defend the harbour from the Russians. In 1860 renewed fears of a French invasion led the War Office to rebuild and fortify the site. The site was rebuilt according to the designs of Robert Rowand Anderson. The walls of the main courtyard were rebuilt and new wing and courtyard were added to the tower. A caponier was added along the south-east side of the courtyard. Emplacements for nine large guns were also constructed. A small enclosure on the west side of the courtyard was also built.

Broughty Castle

From 1886 to 1887 a range was built to house submarine miners to the east of the castle. In an emergency these would lay mines in the Tay Estuary to damage enemy shipping. In 1889–1891 a magazine was built within the western enclosure which also led to a major remodeling of the gun emplacements. The castle remained in military use until 1932, and again between 1939 and 1949. The last defence-related alteration was made in the Second World War when a defence post was built within the top of the main tower.

In 1969 the castle opened as a museum operated by Dundee City Council.

Outside links


  1. Calendar State Papers Scotland, vol.1, Edinburgh (1898), p.39, 14 November 1547, Gray of Foulis, was paid £1000 sterling for the castle.
  2. John Roche Dasent, ed., Acts of the Privy Council, vol. 2, HMSO (1890), 157–159, 242.
  3. Clifford, Arthur, ed., Sadler State Papers, vol.1, Edinburgh (1809), p.361.
  4. Patten, William, The Expedition into Scotland, London (1549), abbreviated, noted for 18 September 1547.
  5. CSP Scotland, vol.1 (1898), p.124 no.256.
  6. CSP Scotland, vol. 1, (1898), 21, 35.
  7. CSP Scotland, vol.1 (1898), 24, Dudley to Somerset.
  8. CSP Scotland, vol. 1 (1898), 33, 35.
  9. Merriman, Marcus, The Rough Wooings, Tuckwell (2000), 263: CSP Scotland, vol. 1 (1898), 45, 64: Treasurer's Accounts, vol. 9 (1911), 142: (Duncan Dundas commanded the workmen of the Scottish artillery train before Pinkie)
  10. CSP Scotland, vol. 1 (1898), 48–49, 51, 53.
  11. Starkey, David, ed., The Inventory of Henry VIII, vol. 1, Society of Antiquaries, (1998), 139.
  12. Michaud & Poujoulat, "Nouvelle Collection des memoirs pour server a l’histoire de France, vol. 6, (1839)".  6–7.