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Cadzow Castle


Cadzow Castle sits on top of a escarpment just outside Hamilton and down a path from Chatelherault.  

We visited in 1998. Here are some pictures of what we found:

Cadzow Castle, in ruins now, shows the influence of artillery warfare in the late medieval period. It was built by the powerful Hamilton family, above their stronghold in the valley. There aren’t many historical references to the site but architectural features like its ‘dumb-bell’ and ‘wide-mouthed’ gun loops place construction between 1475 and 1550.

Cadzow Castle is a place of last resort built by the Hamiltons, the Scottish royal dynasty that never was. Once one of the greatest noble houses in Scotland, the Hamiltons’ allegiance to Mary Queen of Scots brought about their downfall.

Due to its ruined state, only the exterior of Cadzow Castle can be viewed.

So what conclusions can we draw from what little information we have?

It is possible that there were two Cadzow Castles: one, an ancient structure, Cadzow Castle, built around the 12th century, prior to the Hamilton’s takeover of the Barony of Cadzow, and a second, built about two hundred years after the arrival of the Hamiltons.

It is also possible that the second, currently visible, structure was constructed and named Cadzow Castle simply because it was on Barony of Cadzow lands — not because of any association with the ancient Cadzow family.

As excavators and historians continue to dig through the remains of the most recent castle, more questions will be answered and, presumably, more questions will arise as they always do in any scientific endevour. You can check the excavation web sites (on the left) regularly for the latest information.

For further reading about the castle:


  1. Sir James Hamilton 6th Baronet, is my 14th great grandfather, and Baron Alexander Burnet 4, was my 12th great grandfather. As an American, we have lost our place in our ancestry, and thanks to Google, and family search sites are finally able to learn who are family were, but the rest is all lost to us. I have many royals in my family, from both sides, and was wondering how, and where can I go to learn more about them?

    Thank you!


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