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Preserving the Past for the Future

Torwood Castle (Stirling) Past & Present


Torwood Castle in 1904

Torwood Castle in 1904

Torwood Castle stands high on its wooded hilltop near Stirling. It is a 3-4 storey L-plan tower with a cobbled courtyard enclosed on 3 sides by buildings including a gate house of which the latter is much reduced. Built in 1566 it is of more than usual interest as marking the transition between fortification and mansion. Vaulted, turreted and gun-looped, Torwood was, nevertheless, a Renaissance Palace in every sense of the word - and what a palace it was!

Torwood Castle - Stirling

Courtyard range - note the cement mortar applied to wall head at extreme left

On the 'Buildings at Risk Register' Torwood would required more than the average amount of money to restore. It was acquired mid 20th century by an eccentric 'restorer' who lived in the ruins over some 40 years. He was responsible for rebuilding the main staircase in concrete and applying cement based mortar to the walls (which would have to reversed in any future work). However, before his death in 1988 he set up the Torwood Castle Trust whose stated purpose is to consolidate and reinstate Torwood for the 'Benefit of Students of Architecture, History Archaeology and Art' - a tall order in anyone's book! The only problem is - where is the money coming from?

Torwood Castle Stirlingshire

Torwood Castle - same angle, almost, as the 1904 pic above

Nothing much has happened in the meantime except that some excavations have revealed that it stands on an much earlier structure.

Nevertheless, Torwood has withstood all these indignities and is one of Scotland's lost treasures.


Date posted: 02 Jul 2012Last updated: 08 Dec 2014

(1) Related article: lothians & stirling 2001

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