Historic Bothwell – One


Sunday was a lovely and sunny February day, although a little cold and I agreed with some friends to cycle to Bothwell Castle using the path through Strathclyde Park. As it was a nice day the park was quite busy with pedestrians, dog walkers and cyclists.

On Strathclyde Loch were some sailing boats and rowers and it was very pleasant watching the activities on the water while cycling along.

After leaving the park from the west exit we had to cross a very busy dual carriageway before continuing on our way to Bothwell. 

Historic Bothwell

Bothwell has played an important part in the history of Scotland throughout the ages and was the site of the famous Battle of Bothwell Bridge. It also has a 14th century castle and the oldest Collegiate Church in Scotland – Bothwell Parish Church.

At Bothwell, we turned off the main road at Blantyre Mill Road and cycled down to a footbridge over the River Clyde which links Blantyre with Bothwell. Just over the bridge are the mill workers houses and mill buildings where African explorer Dr David Livingstone was born. We turned off before the bridge and took a path along the river to the castle. 


This was very pleasant and is excellent for bird-watching. The path was quite busy with walkers and other cyclists. It is also fairly flat except for a small climb to the castle.

Bothwell Castle

Bothwell Castle was built in the 13th Century and is Scotland’s largest and finest Middle Age castle.

South East Tower of Bothwell Castle

Wars of Independence

Walter of Moray and his son William created the castle but it was never completed because of the outbreak of the Wars of Independence in 1296. The castle figured prominently in the Wars of Independence with England. The wars ended in 1357 with the signing of the Treaty of Berwick.

After the wars, Bothwell Castle passed to the Black Douglases. They were overthrown in 1455 with the castle reverting to the Crown.

South East Tower of Bothwell Castle

The remains of the chapel are just behind the South East Tower.

Great Hall

 Like many castles, Bothwell had a Great Hall for holding banquets and functions.

Great Hall
Great Hall from the Courtyard

The Donjon

The huge cylindrical donjon was built in the 13th century, but before the rest of the castle was completed it was severely damaged in a series of sieges. 

The Donjon as seen from the Great Hall
South West of the Castle
South West of the Castle

Bothwell Parish Church

After leaving the castle we headed back into Bothwell to view the 14th century Parish Church. The church is currently being restored and the walls strengthened as they were starting to bulge under the weight of the slate roof tiles.

The church was known as St Brides and was a Catholic church until the Reformation in 1560 when it briefly became an Episcopalian place of worship before becoming the Presbyterian Parish Church.

Bothwell Parish Church

In front of the church is a monument to Scottish poet Joanna Baillie who was born in the manse. Her father, the Rev James Baillie was the minister and her mother was the sister of physicians and anatomists, William and John Hunter. 

Joanna Baillie Monument

The church building is quite outstanding and one of the finest church buildings in Scotland. The Reverend Jim Gibson, the parish minister, also serves as chaplain to the Queen in Scotland.

Part 2 will show some modern aspects of the village. 

Further Information

Bothwell Castle

Bothwell Parish Church

Joanna Bailey

5 thoughts on “Historic Bothwell – One

  1. tootlepedal February 17, 2015 / 9:05 pm

    A good place to have within easy cycling range.

    • janeslog February 18, 2015 / 6:01 am

      Good place to stop for a drink and an ice cream.

  2. jmgoyder February 18, 2015 / 1:39 am

    Fascinating! I love castles and obviously we don’t have any here. Are they always being repaired? Can you go into them safely?

    • janeslog February 18, 2015 / 6:00 am

      Historic Scotland and English Heritage are Government organisations who maintain historic buildings and monuments in the UK. They train craftsmen on the skills required to maintain the buildings and they are regularly inspected for safety. Historic Scotland craftsmen are also helping in the restoration of Bothwell Parish Church.

      Bothwell Castle has been getting work done for a few years now.

  3. Sartenada February 20, 2015 / 11:27 am

    How wonderful Place for a visit. Very enjoyable post and beautiful photos.

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