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Broughty Castle
Broughty Castle

Broughty Castle

Location: Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Angus, Scotland
kind of castle: fortified castle
today: open to public, contains a museum
public transport: buses to Broughty Ferry, from there a nice short walk to the castle
scheduled monument: yes
managed by: Historic Environment of Scotland
entrance fee: £ 0   free
opening times: April-Sept: Mon to Sat 10am-4pm and Sun 12.30-4pm. Oct-Mar: Tue to Sat 10am-4pm and Sun 12.30-4pm
directions: Broughty Castle – Google Maps

Positioned on the banks of the river Tay, in Broughty Ferry, the historic castle was completed around 1495 though the site had been fortified before. However, it was not until Andrew, 2nd Lord Gray, that the four-floor tower house in the centre of the castle were built.

During the time of the Rough Wooing the castle saw military action, being surrendered by purchase to the Englisch after the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. It was of strategic importance all the way throughout its history, controlling the entrance to the Forth of Tay and the city of Dundee.

The swift river current made naval bombardment impractical and by that was very advantageous to the modern warfare. The English saw this as well and after taking possession of the castle further fortified by building a ditch across the landward side of the castle.

Dundee, as a town, agreed to support the garrison at Broughty Castle, resisting the Governor of Scotland, Regent Arran, John Scrimgeour the Constable of Dundee, and the council signed this agreement in 1547.

Later that year the Earl of Argyll tried to capture the castle and in January of the following year, but both attempts failed.

Bringing two more ships in December 1547, Thomas Wyndham burnt Balmerino Abbey on Christmas Day and in the following January one hundred matchlock and powder flasks, matches, touch boxes, bullet moulds were delivered up from Berwick.

John Luttrell succeeded Andrew Dudley. His time at Broughty Castle certainly kept him on his feet. In May 1548 Grey of Wilton, the English commander at Haddington, told him that he won’t receive and supplies cause of an expected French fleet. In June of the same year Luttrell again was warned by Grey of Wilton, against Scottish assassins. However, when Lord Methven took away the guns of the Scottish counter-battery in 1548.

Luttrell’s and Wyndham’s activities on the Forth soon were called into question in November 1549. Putting into question if the ships seized were a lawful prize. Investigations were started. However, it took until February 1550 for the Scottish and French forces managed to capture Broughty Castle. Luttrell afterwards was held prisoner by James Dog of Dunrobin as a ransom for his own sons, one of whoms descendants’ history became to know as Regent Morton.

After its central part in the Rough Wooing Broughty Castle was also involved in the War of the Three Kingdoms, being attached in 1651 at which occasion to Royalist defenders fled without a fight. The Gray family sold the castle following this in 1666 and from that moment on it became more ruinous.

Being acquired be the War Office in 1855, with the intention of using it to defend the harbour from Russian forces.

In 1860 there were new fears of a French invasion which led to rebuilding and for fortifying the site. During which, new wings and courtyards were added to the tower and the walls of the main courtyard were rebuilt, adding a caponier on the south-east side of the courtyard.

During the First World War the castles battery mounted two 4.7-inch Quick Firing guns. There were plans made to lay mines in the Tay Estuary to damage enemy shipping. And even after the war was over the castle remained in military use up until 1932 and again between 1939 and 1949.

These days it is not intended for military use anymore. It contains a museum since 1969 operated by Dundee city council, offering a totally free and interesting little exhibition and amazing views over the Tay.

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