Lochmaben is sited on a peninsular near the town of that name. It was one of the principal fortresses in Scotland and it is more the pity that it is in such a lamentable condition today. This state of affairs was not the result of conflict but that well-known Scottish pastime of 'carting off' stone for building purposes.
Its unique plan, which has intrigued architectural historians for years, is mainly the result of the pressures of the time when the Scots and English fought in the 14th century.
A massive curtain wall cuts the castle off from the mainland with an entrance gate in the centre. From either end walls thrust forward to cross the ditch on open arches but come to an abrupt termination. Boats could reach the castle via a canal at this point.
Some of the surviving masonry is of the very highest quality.
Beyond, and occupying by far the largest area, were outer courts defended by earth and timber.
Lochmaben was long in English hands allowing them to establish a 'pale' in southern Scotland until its capture in 1384.
Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle
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