NT 055-802 West Lothian Scotland
Blackness Castle is a mid 15th century stone tower house and courtyard fortress, founded by Sir George Crichton. Standing on a rocky promontory that protrudes into the Firth of Forth, its plan closely resembles the shape of a ship. After James Crichton imprisoned his father when seizing the castle in 1454, King James II assailed Blackness by land and sea, until it surrendered to his royal control. In 1537-43 King James V strengthened and remodelled the royal castle, the south and east curtain walls were massively thickened and the entrance was moved from the east wall, to a western spur which was built across the rock-cut ditch. The south tower was doubled in height and pierced with wide gun-ports and the central tower of three floors and an attic, over a vaulted basement was given a further storey. From the Firth of Forth and the high ground to the south, the artillery of Cromwell’s commander in Scotland, General Monck breached the defences in 1651. Repaired in 1693, the lowered north tower was converted into a three-gun battery and the defences of the spur were enhanced and heightened. After the north-eastern stair tower of 1667 was added to the central tower, it was used as a prison for Covenanters and in 1707 a barracks. A small garrison occupied the castle during the 18th century and in the 19th century it was a magazine for powder and stores. A mile south is the House of the Binns and 2 miles west is Carriden House.
Blackness Castle is located north of the village centre, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth. 16 miles west of Edinburgh, on the A90-A904.
The site is owned by Historic Scotland and is open daily, April to September 9:30-5:30pm, October 9:30-4:30pm, November to March Saturday to Wednesday 9:30-4:30pm.
There is a car park.