Castlegate History Tour
Moderate to difficult
Not much of the walk is on level ground.
Featuring Castlegate, Castlebank and Bloomgate, this trail highlights the medieval layout of the area.
Following on from the Town Centre Trail, the walk begins at point number eight on the downloadable map located at the bottom of the page.
8 - Hyndford Place
Situated to the south of St. Nicholas Parish Church, Hyndford Place forms the focus of a number of historic buildings. Behind Jacks the Ironmongers, you will see the crowstepped gables of Hyndford House, the seventeenth century town house and former home of the Earl of Hyndford. Note the curved window at the corner of Jacks with it’s distinctive Lanarkshire lying panes dating from the Victorian period.
Turn back into Hyndford Place and right into Castlegate. Opposite you will see the site of William Wallace’s house with a plaque reading, ‘Here stood the house of William Wallace who in Lanark in 1297 first drew sword to free his native land’.
Continue down Castlegate. On your left, up at eaves eighth you will see the ‘girnin dug’, sitting on a skew putt and directed at a neighbours house as part of an old feud.
9 - Castlegate/Broomgate
Castlegate opens out into a wide space bound to the west by Broomgate. On the far side there are a number of Victorian houses in the characteristic local style now painted in red, navy, pink and so on. This area was originally the site of early medieval markets until the fifteenth century. Horsemarkets and shoemarkets were also held here during the early 1700’s. Tucked away on the far side of Broomgate, the crowstepped gable house dates from around 1640 and housed the Grammar School between 1650 and 1841.
10 - The Medieval Core
In medieval times, Castlegate was Lanark’s most important and imposing street, leading down to the Royal Castle in the South West. It was originally of extraordinary width until the street was divided and Broomgate formed in the late eighteenth century. The medieval timber dwellings were replaced by new buildings of stout stone construction, eroding the original street pattern. The Broomgate Institute on your right was built in 1838 as a school for the poor now in use as flats.
Turn left into Delves Park
11 - Delves Park
Also known locally as 'Dandies Park', the land was bequeathed by Mr James Watson. This formal park commands excellent views of the open fields towards New Lanark.
Return to Castlegate
12 - Site of Lanark Castle
The bowling green at the bottom of Castlegate lies on the site of Lanark Castle which dates back to the time of David 1, 1124 – 53, although it is believed to have been used by the Romans at a much earlier date.
The natural earth mound was surmounted by a timber structure which formed a defensive fortress. The Castle was regularly used as the King’s residence during the medieval period. Robert the Bruce held a court in the castle in 1321, but shortly after, the Castle appears to have fallen into disuse.
The mound was used for military drills and grazing until the eighteenth century, when it was reduced in height and by 1760, a bowling green was established.
Turn right then left into Castlebank Park
Photo courtesy of Graeme McLeish
13 - Castlebank Park
Castlebank House forms the focus of Castlebank Park, a magnificent park incorporating the grounds of the house, a terraced garden and many fine specimen trees.
Castlebank House was first established in the late 1700’s and was gradually extended by successive owners to form the grand house we see today. Castlebank was sold to the Town Council in 1951 and was divided into a series of flats commanding expansive views over the Clyde Valley.
Castlebank Park has been the focus of a number of regeneration projects in recent years and now houses a Horticultural Centre, nestled at the top of the hill behind Castlebank House.
From Castlebank Park, you have the option of taking the Clyde Walkway to New Lanark (walking time 20 minutes). Access to the walkway is signposted from the House. The walkway takes a spectacular zig-zag path down to the edge of the Clyde and along to New Lanark Village.
Return to Castlebank Park entrance and take the left turn up the hill along Friars Lane.
14 - Friars Lane
As you walk up Friars Lane you will see a fine house rising above the stone wall and mature trees to your right. Castlepark was designed by William Leiper in 1880 in the Japanese style incorporating exposed rafters, timber balconies and a pagoda style tower. One of Leiper’s best known works is the Templeton Carpet Factory at Glasgow Green which is said to be influenced by the Doge’s Palace in Venice.
Friars Lane is so named as it passes through the lands of the former Franciscan Friary dating from the fourteenth century. A series of large villas were developed along Friars Lane during the Victorian period.
Continue up Friars Lane to Bloomgate.
15 - Bloomgate
Bloomgate formed an important element of medieval street pattern within the Westport or gateway into the town. The site of the Franciscan Friary lies within Bloomgate beneath the former assembly rooms to the rear of the Clydesdale Hotel.
Greyfriars Monastery was established in 1314 when lands were granted by Robert the Bruce. The Friary consisted of a chapel and a number of single story stone buildings with thatched roofs. The gardens contained an apple orchard and kailyard. By 1560 the Friary had been abandoned, the buildings falling into disrepair and stone incorporated into new buildings close by. A number of other historic buildings can be seen in Bloomgate.
Turn right and you will be immediately in front of Greyfriars Church.
Designed by William Leiper, Greyfriars Church was built in 1875 in the Gothic style. The square north west tower is chamfered to an octagon with eight gablet lancet windows above. The church sits in an imposing position above the Westport entrance to the town.
The Clydesdale Hotel was built in 1791 by the Town Council and Gentlemen of the Country on part of the site of Greyfriar’s Monastery as a first class coaching inn.
In 1827 the elegant and spacious Assembly Rooms were added to the rear. During the construction of the Assembly rooms, human remains were found which were believed to be those of Franciscan Friars buried in the aisle of the Chapel.
By the mid nineteenth century, the Hotel was an important staging post with coaches departing for Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. Many important visitors stayed at the hotel including Thomas Grey, William and Dorothy Wordsworth and Charles Dickens.
Continue along Bloomgate back to St. Nicholas’ Parish Church. Proceed up to the High Street to the Station if you wish to conclude Trail B. If you wish to continue onto Trail C, cross over to the narrow entrance to the Wellgate.
You can download a map by clicking the icon below. The Castlegate Heritage Trail is captioned as Heritage Trail B.