The oldest surviving castle in Glasgow, Crookston Castle has inspired the works of Robert Burns, William Motherwell, and Sir Walter Scott wrote that Mary Queen of Scots watched her final defeat at the Battle of Langside from a yew tree in the castle grounds.

The tree was felled in 1816 and its materials used to create a small model of the castle, now on display in Pollok House. The real castle, a stoic ruin among rows of terraced houses in the city’s Southside, remains open to visitors today.

Crookston Castle was built around 1400 by the Darnley Stewarts, the most well-known of whom is Lord Darnley, the second husband of Mary Queen of Scots. It is also rumoured that they were betrothed under that same yew tree.

Glasgow Times: It is rumoured that Lord Darnley and Mary Queen of Scots were betrothed at Crookston CastleIt is rumoured that Lord Darnley and Mary Queen of Scots were betrothed at Crookston Castle

While technically a 15th century stone castle, it is built on the foundations of a defensive ring ditch dating back as early as the 12th century. An original timber and earth castle was built by Sir Robert Croc, whose name was given to the village of Crookston, and excavations of the site found that he had also built a chapel there.

The castle was owned by the earls and dukes of Lennox, and in 1489 one of the earls rebelled against King James IV. The king besieged the castle by taking one of the largest cannons in the world, Mons Meg, from Edinburgh to fire at the western side of the castle.

READ MORE: Glasgow History Hotspot: Waverley Picture House in Shawlands

The two western towers were never repaired, and in the mid-18th century Crookston Castle was sold to the Maxwells, a family of barons in Pollok. They partially restored the site in 1847 in preparation for a visit from Queen Victoria, and in 1931 10th baronet and National Trust founding member Sir John Maxwell Stirling-Maxwell gifted the castle to the trust.

A ruined castle amid a modern suburb, Crookston and its history is still greatly valued by the locals. In 2013 Pollok councillor David McDonald campaigned to have the castle taken into the hands of the public who were passionate about looking after it.

Crookston Castle is open daily and is free to visit.