Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Strathaven Castle (Lanarkshire) - Past & Present

Strathaven Castle (Lanarkshire)

Strathaven Castle (Lanarkshire)

Situated in the town of that name in South Lanarkshire this is a castle of more than average interest.

Strathaven stands on a mound at the foot of which a burn runs in a deep crevice.

The castle is 70 feet in length with a round tower, 4 storeys high. There is a projecting wing at the rear. Standing on a beautifully fashioned ashlar base the rubble walls are up to 7 feet in thickness - though those of the gun looped round tower are much thinner suggesting that this may be later. A diminutive doorway in this tower is so low that one has to crouch to enter. This would seem to be an original feature.

An 18th century engraving shows a parapet projecting on bold corbelling creating an extremely striking feature. At the same time it was recorded that the barmkin was 5 ft in thickness (it stood where the present road runs past).

Professor Charles McKean postulates that the remains are only part of a larger building and that the original would have constituted a handsome 'chateau'.

This did not preserve Strathaven from evil hands, first in 1716 and then critically in the late 1960s when the town wished to demolish the entire building. It was pointed out that the cost to demolish would match that to consolidate so it gained a reprieve. The work, however, was carried out in a cack handed manner.

Strathaven originally faced the church and was hemmed in by narrow streets. Time (and town planners) have not dealt kindly with it.

Added: 25 Mar 2012 Updated: 08 Dec 2014
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