Lochleven Castle is among the most significant medieval monuments in Scotland and is most famous for being an island prison for Mary Queen of Scots during 1567-1568.

History of Lochleven Castle

written by Historic Scotland
In 1926, Edward I of England led a mighty army across the River Tweed in a determined attempt to conquer Scotland. It was the beginning of a long and bloody conflict in which Lochleven Castle figured prominently.

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The role of Lochleven Castle in the early years of the fighting is unclear for no contemporary documents concerning it survive. There may not even have been a castle here at the outset and it may have been the English who first fortified the island, for Loch Leven was strategically situated between the royal burghs of Edinburgh and Perth. The English fortress, if such it was, is reputated to have been captured by Sir William Wallace before his death in 1305. Blind Harry, writing well over a century later, tells of Wallace’s party attacking at night and killing all 30 ‘Inglismen” – and their five women.

The castle was certainly in Scottish hands by 1313, for King Robert I (the Bruce) stayed on the island in that year, fresh from recapturing Perth. He visited again in 1323. Bruce was the first to use Lochleven Castle as a state prison, incarcerating the pro-English John MacDougall of Lorn here in 1316, following his capture in far-off Argyll. The castle’s natural strength also made a secure place to store valuables and in 1329 part of the royal exchequer was deposited within its walls.

Historic Scotland (Lochleven Castle): http://losw.co.uk/lochleven

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