Devastated by the civil wars of the 17th century or by the neglect and deliberate destruction of their owners who saw them as archaic and barbaric, the vast majority of Scottish baronial castles built between 1250 and 1450 survive as little more than skeletal ruins. These reminders of Scotland's past have captured the imaginations of romantics, artists, writers and tourists since the late 18th century. Often set in spectacular surroundings, on cliff-tops, islands, and gorges, their ruined grandeur evokes a medieval world of sieges, banquets and murders, and provides a rare physical link with the Anglo-Scottish wars of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.
This book examines the three periods of castle building in the years 1250-1450: the years of peace in the late 13th century; the six decades of war with the English when the castles became key centers for garrisons and government; and the post-war era of castle building and reconstruction. Covering castles in the Isles, the Lowlands and the Highlands, and featuring some of the most striking examples of the art, such as Caelaverock and Bothwell this book presents the story of these monuments in an accessible and highly-illustrated format.
About the Author
Dr. Michael Brown is a lecturer in the Department of Scottish History at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. His principal interests center on the political society of Scotland c.1250-1500, the relationships between the various communities of the British Isles during the same period, and the role of the castle in medieval Scotland. His published work includes studies of the practice and ideology of royal and aristocratic lordship in Scotland, warfare in medieval Scotland, and a biography of James I. This is his first book for Osprey Publishing.
"This is a well-written and well-illustrated look into Scottish fortifications. It is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in fortifications before the age of gunpowder." -Bolling Smith, The Coast Defense Journal (July 2009)
"Not too many books cover the castles of Scotland since so few of them are left which have not been heavily modified after the Middle Ages such as Stirling Castle.The book covers the design and use of a number of the important castles, which were often characterized by their large round towers and other structures. Some were located on heights and islands making them stand out. ...the drawings are excellent recreations of the castles... This work is a good introduction to this period of Scottish history and castles." -JE Kauffman, siteo.net (May 2009)
"Overall, it is an excellent book on a subject that is both historically significant and fascinating to read. It is one I can highly recommend." -Scott Van Aken, www.modelingmadness.com (April 2009)