Torthorwald Castle, Dumfries and Galloway

Not far away from Dumfries, out in the small village of Torthorwald, stands the ruins of a castle, up on a hill…


Torthorwald Castle is what remains of an old rectangular, fortified tower. The first tower on the site was the original moat and bailey, 12th century tower, but this was replaced gradually and no current sections of the ruins pre-date the 14th century.

The first owner of the present Castle was Sir David Torthorwald. Since David, two families have occupied the Castle, namely the Kirkpatrick’s and the Carlyles by 1418. In 1544, Michael Lord Carlyle attacked and took the Castle, which was in the possession of his sister-in-law, Jonet Scrimgeour.


Not long after, Regent Arran (James Hamilton, Duke of Chatellerault, 1516 – 1575) helped with a legal settlement to get Jonet back into the Castle, and to win back her possessions. In 1609, after Jonet presumably married, the Castle passed through marriage to the Douglases of Parkhead. From this point little is known however the Castle was still inhabited by the 18th century, and at some point after that it became a ruin, abandoned.

The ruin today is in a very bad state with some sections of wall crumbling.

You will find the Castle on the A709 road from Dumfries/A75 (from Gretna, through Dumfries towards Stranraer), heading towards Lochmaben and ultimately the A74(M) from Gretna towards Glasgow.

It’s an interesting find and one we found quite by accident, but it’s worth taking a look at another piece of history.


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