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Blackness Castle is in the care of Historic Scotland and there is an admission charge although you can walk around the outside for free. However it's worth paying the modest entry charge to look over the inside of the castle, walk the battlements and scale the towers from which there are excellent views of the River Forth.
Blackness Castle Blackness Castle
It was built shortly after 1440 by Sir George Crichton who was the Earl of Caithness and Sheriff of nearby Linlithgow. In 1453 King James II seized the lands of Sir George Crichton and Blackness Castle became Crown property and was used for over 250 years as state prison. Between 1537 and 1543 major building work took place at the castle when the south and east walls were remodelled to withstand artillery.
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The castle was besieged by Oliver Cromwell's army in 1660, suffered land and sea bombardment, and was left in ruins following it's surrender by the defending garrison. The Castle was restored in the late 1660's and continued to be manned by a garrison of around 20 soldiers.
The Castle again became a prison during the wars with France between 1759 and 1815. In 1870 it became the central ammunition depot for Scotland until 1912 when it was scheduled as an ancient monument. The castle is now in good condition following a major rebuilding program between 1926 and 1935.
Blackness Castle is open all year round but is closed on Thursday afternoons and all day Friday during in the winter months. Opening times are listed on the Historic Scotland site below.
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