Woody Castle is an Iron Age Fort sited to the north west of the Mill Loch. It is 63m (212 feet) in diameter and is surrounded by high banks of earth and stone. The ditch which lay at the base of the banks has practically disappeared with the passage of time. The entrance faces north while to the east stands a large conglomerate stone left by the retreating ice.This boulder is supposed to mark the spot where a king was slain in 880 AD. One legend connected to the stone was that a crock of gold was buried beneath it! One of the farmers of Lochbank Farm attempted to move it with a team of horses but was frightened off by the onset of a violent storm of thunder and lightening.
The Motte Castle was built in the 12th Century by the De Brus family from Northumberland on land granted to them by David 1st. It is claimed that King Robert I of Scotland (Bruce) was born here, which is why the town adopted the motto "From us is born the liberator king" (in Latin) on its coat of arms.
It was probably constructed of wood although traces of stone and mortar remain around the summit of the mound. The motte which is a prominant artificial mound surrounded by a steep-sided ditch is best known as the site of the elevated 2nd green of the picturesque 18 hole golf course.The bailey or outer courtyard is less evident today was also bounded by a ditch and is thought to have extended to the edge of the Castle Loch.The castle changed hands many times in its 200 year history during the Wars of Scottish Independence.
On his march south after the defeat of William Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298, Edward 1st ("Hammer of the Scots") camped at Lochmaben to survey a site for a new and stronger castle of stone on the southern shore of the Castle Loch. The peel was built on an island and surrounded by a ditch. When the water level of the Castle Loch was lowered by dredging the Valison Burn, the outlet from the loch to the River Annan, the castle site became a peninsula. Although in ruins today, Historic Environment Scotland have stabilised the remaining walls and hope to clear the outer courtyard of trees and scrub to uncover the network of ditches and give a better idea of what is considered to be the best example of an Edwardian Peel in Scotland. The Peel comprises a rectangular enclosure, measuring 32m * 23m with an added block to the north side. The entrance was to the south, where there are the well preserved remains of the counterweight pit of the drawbridge, where the curtain wall is fronted by a canal 6.1m wide spanned by high winged walls at either end. Entry was through a roofed passage, with chambers to either side, and hall and other domestic apartments above. To the south of the Peel was an outer ward ("Peel Toun"), protected by a deep ditch and further to the south an area of parkland which would have provided food for the inhabitants of the castle.
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