Lanarkshire & Glasgow area: About 1.5 miles south-east of Hamilton, on minor roads south of A72, on the south bank of the Avon Water, Chatelherault, at Cadzow Castle.
HES NS 734538 OS: 64 ML3 7UE
OPEN: Park open to the public: view from exterior as fenced off.
Tel: 01698 426213 Web: www.historicenvironment.scot
Cadzow Castle, possibly dates from the 12th century, but most (if not all) of the present ruin is of a tower house of 1540, with outbuildings and a courtyard, also dating from the 16th century. It
is an early example of a castle built to withstand artillery, probably built by James Hamilton of Finnart as with his castle at Craignethan. The
ruins consist of a strong tower with round towers at two corners, one very ruinous, and a courtyard enclosing other ruinous buildings. A wide ditch protected one side, while the deep gorge of the
Avon Water and steeply sloping ground defended the others. In the mid 18th century and early 19th century stone from the site was used in extensive landscaping, including the remodelling of the ruin
to provide a romantic and scenic outlook from the later hunting lodge at Chatelherault.
An earlier castle may have stood at Castlehill [NS 729548], although the site is now occupied by a housing scheme.
Cadzow was the original name of the estate and parish of Hamilton, and it was not until 1455 that the name of Hamilton was formally adopted for the burgh and district. The lands were used by the
kings of Scots, including David I, but passed to the Comyns, then to the Hamiltons on the Comyn’s forfeiture in the early part of the 14th century. The Hamiltons came from Homildon in Northumberland,
hence their name. The Hamiltons were made Earls of Arran with seats at Brodick and Kinneil, and then Dukes of Chatelherault in France — a title granted by Henri II of France. Mary, Queen of Scots, visited the castle in 1568 after escaping from Lochleven Castle. Cadzow was besieged in 1570, by troops supporting the Earl of Lennox in his fight against the Hamiltons, and the castle surrendered after
two days. In 1579 the castle was captured by the Regent Morton's forces, and dismantled to be left as a ruin. In the 18th century the ruin became part of the formal landscape of Hamilton Palace, and further landscaping and alteration of the ruin was carried out by Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton, in the 19th century.
Cadzow stands in Chatelherault park, which is open to the public, although the castle is currently being consolidated by HES and can only be viewed from the exterior.