Inverness Castle

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Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle (Scottish Gaelic: Caisteal Inbhir Nis) sits on a cliff overlooking the River Ness, in Inverness, Scotland. The red sandstone structure evident today was built in 1836 by architect William Burn. It is built on the site of an 11th-century defensive structure. Today, it houses Inverness Sheriff Court. There has been a castle at this site for many centuries. The castle itself is not currently open to the public, however a recent campaign has led to the creation of a working group to explore the possibility of doing so in the future.[1] At present, only the castle grounds are open to the public.

History of Inverness Castle[edit]

Early history[edit]

Inverness Castle

A succession of castles has stood on this site since 1057.

The castle is said to have been built by Máel Coluim III of Scotland, after he had razed to the ground the castle in which Macbeth of Scotland according to much later tradition, murdered Máel Coluim's father Donnchad I of Scotland, and which stood on a hill around 1 km to the north-east.

The first Inverness Castle was partially destroyed by King Robert I of Scotland and a replacement castle was sacked in the 15th century by the Clan Donald during the Siege of Inverness (1429). The castle was occupied during the Raid on Ross in 1491.

Mary, Queen of Scots[edit]

Historic view of Inverness Castle

In 1548 another castle with tower was completed by George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly (1514–1562). He was constable of the castle until 1562. The castle was later taken by the Clan Munro and Clan Fraser who supported Mary Queen of Scots during the Siege of Inverness (1562). Robert Mor Munro, 15th Baron of Foulis, chief of the Clan Munro was a staunch supporter and faithful friend of Mary Queen of Scots and he consequently was treated favourably by her son James VI.

George Buchanan states, that when the unfortunate princess went to Inverness in 1562 and found the gates of the castle shut against her; "as soon as they heard of their sovereign's danger, a great number of the most eminent Scots poured in around her, especially the Frasers and Munros, who were esteemed the most valiant of the clans inhabiting those countries in the north". These two clans took Inverness Castle for the Queen, which had refused her admission. The Queen later hanged the governor, a Gordon who had refused entry.[2]

George Buchanan's original writings state:[3]

Which translates in English as:

Other sieges of Inverness Castle[edit]

There were later sieges of Inverness in 1562, 1649, 1650, 1689, 1715 and 1746.


The current Inverness Castle was built in 1836 on the site of the original one. To improve the more recent castle, a gas, light, and water system was installed.

£50 notes[edit]

An illustration of the castle has featured on the reverse side of £50 notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland, which were introduced in 2005.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Inverness Castle's tourism potential to be explored". BBC News. BBC. 15 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Clan MUNRO
  3. ^ George Buchanan's (1506–1582), History of Scotland, completed in 1579, first published in 1582.
  4. ^ "Current Banknotes : Royal Bank of Scotland". The Committee of Scottish Clearing Bankers. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 57°28′35″N 4°13′32″W / 57.47631°N 4.22550°W / 57.47631; -4.22550