~ about Blackness
Further up the Forth Estuary from South Queensferry, the little
village of Blackness has a pretty beach close to Blackness Castle, where
I’ve found some lovely seaglass and shells.
Many years ago, Blackness
was a seaport village in the E of Carriden parish, Linlithgowshire, on a small bay of its own name on
the Firth of Forth. It lies 3½ miles ESE of Borrowstounness ( the town
now known as Bo'ness), and about 2 miles NE of
Linlithgow. It was originally the port of Linlithgow, and a
place of extensive commerce. it was superseded as a port, in 1680, by Bo'ness, which was then
made the port for Linlithgow. It was allowed to sink into almost total disrepair:
"...its harbour went to ruin, its custom house was converted into lodgings, and its only commerce became
a trivial exportation of bricks and tiles, and as trivial an importation of lime and manure." It had
fame then also - and still has to this day - because of its proximity to Blackness Castle.
which is supposed by some antiquaries to mark the eastern extremity of Antonine's Wall, and was long
one of the most important fortresses in the South of Scotland.
Blackness Castle stands beside the Firth of
Forth, at the seaport which in medieval times served the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow. It's often
referred to as the ship that never sailed. This is because of its
appearance, for from the seaward side it looks just like a great stone ship that has run
The castle was built in the 15th century by one of Scotland’s more powerful families, the
Crichtons. Blackness was not destined to serve as a peaceful lordly residence. In 1453 it became a royal
castle and its enduring roles were those of garrison fortress and state prison.
was adapted and strengthened between 1537 and 1543, to become one of the most formidable artillery
fortifications in Scotland. It was in use by the military for various roles right up to the end of WW1, when
certain modern additions were removed, and the Castle returned to its medieval
Today, visitors to the castle can explore areas such
as the prison tower and the great hall. From the towers and curtain wall around the castle you can see fine
views across the Firth of Forth and the rail and road bridges.
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