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Corra Castle

Corra Castle by Paul Sandy



This view above of Corra Castle was done by Paul Sandby (1731-1809). Sandby was a map maker turned landscape artist. He was one of the founder members of the Royal Academy along with his brother Thomas. Between 1747 and 1752 he spent much of his time in Scotland. This view was probably done at this time. The Sandy print is perhaps the most accurate drawing of the castle. It shows that most of the front part of the castle was still roofed c.1750. It also shows that Corra Castle was a typical late fifteenth century courtyard castle.

The other features in the print include a distance view of the two storied View House built by Sir William Carmichael in 1709. the View House was the very first Camera Obscura built in Scotland, the aim of same being to give the visitors to Bonnington Falls the impression that the falls were cascading over them. Below the Castle is a mill thought by many to have been swept away in the floods of 1782. However a print was done of the mill in 1840.

The name Corra/Corrocks is first recorded back in the twelfth century. At that time the lands of Corehouse were in the hands of the Tironesian Priory of Lesmahagow. However in the fifteenth century the Castle was in the hands of the Bannatyne family. They selected the site as it was bounded by cliffs on three sides making it virtually impregnable. On the landward side a ditch about 6 metres deep was dug.

A plan of Corra Castle was done of the Castle in McGibbon and Ross’s Book of Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland (Vol 2). This was part of a set of four volumes printed in 1887.

The exterior of the castle can still be viewed from the path down to Corra Linn, however the interior of the Castle was closed off a number of years ago due to the fact that there is a rare species of bat living in the Castle.

The history of the lands of Corehouse and its Castle.

Exactly where the lands of Corrocks were is not exactly clear as there are references to the lands of Corroc being near Crawford. Clarity comes in 1476 when Richard Bannatyne was one of a jury that gave the wrong verdict according to the Lord Auditors. He is described as being of the Corhous. Indeed on all early maps Corra Castle is described as Corehouse. The style and design of the castle would fit well into the time of Richard Bannatyne, therefore there is a strong possibility that he built Corra Castle.

John Bannatyne and sixty three others were accused of the mutilation of Walter Weir in 1516. Thomas his brother was found guilty of the murder of John Graham of Westhall in 1536.

The Bannatynes were supporters of Mary Queen of Scots. John Bannatyne in 1572 was accused of assisting in the murder of Lord Darnley. William Bannatyne and others were involved in the abduction of Margaret Hamilton from Dungavel in 1596 but the case against him was dismissed.

The lands of Corhouse were worth in 1630 twelve chalders (a measure of grain of nearly two hundred weight) and eight bolls (a measure of cotton) annually. This tax was paid in measures of barley.

In 1631, the following year, William Bannatyne contributed twenty merks to the Glasgow University’s library. He succeeded his father to the estates of Corehouse in 1632 together with the mansion, house and mill.

The family played its part in the Civil War supporting both king and then Parliament. John Bannatyne was on the committee of War in 1647 and 1648. He then was involved as a commissioner of Excise in 1661. then he became a Justice of the Peace in 1663 and thereafter Commissioner of Supply in 1667.

Corra Castle and the Corehouse Estate passed to William Sommerville of Cambusnethan before 1695 since Sir John Bannatyne had moved to Brookdyke in Cumberland. George Sommerville, William’s successor, died childless and the estate passed to the Lockharts. Then in the nineteenth century to the Cranstouns but as the last Cranstoun – Colonel Sandy Cranstoun died childless, it has passed back to the Lockharts.

Below is a view of Corehouse with Bonnington Power Station above it.


Below is a Google Earth image of the location of the castle..

Corra castle2

Below is an interactive Google map where you can pan right and zoom to see marker and location of for Corra Castle


Ross Map 1772 courtesy National Library of Scotland

Pont map courtesy of National Library of Scotland 1596

Forrest Map 1819 courtesy of National Library of Scotland

Blaeu Map courtesy of National Library of Scotland 1654


OS Map 1864 courtesy of OS

The print below is by Pernot 1820


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