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comlongon_history

The early years; 1100-1500 Comlongon Castles early history is unclear, but records indicate that a Royal Charter or letter of licence was issued to Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray, standard bearer at the battle of Bannockburn to construct a stone fortification to replace a much earlier wooden castle at Cockpool, (supposedly some 500 yards to the south of the present site of Comlongon). When this royal warrant was issued is unclear, and when construction took place also remains something of a grey area. However some records indicate it took a mere 6 years to complete at a cost, today, of some several hundreds of thousands of pounds. Comlongon was part of the lordship of Nithsdale, which was held by the Randolph family in the 12th century. After the accession of Robert the Bruce to the throne, Thomas Randolph of Nithsdale was given vast estates in the north, and he granted the lands of Comlongon to his nephew, William Murray of Cockpool, who occupied a small earthwork castle to the southwest. (Often referred to as Cockpool) There is reference in 1501 of a warrant being previously granted to replace the structure of Comlongan with a new stone castle, the letter of licence grants; “To JOHNNE of MURRAY of Cokpule and his aeris, to big a towre and fortalice apone his landis liand in Ananderdale, and to mak apone the sammyn machcoling, corbalsalze, irnezettis and windois, etc.,and to ras and big the said towre to quhat hicht he ples” This remarkable surviving document confers an almost unprecedented permission to construct a very sizable fortress for an obvious favoured subject. These were subsequently transferred to his nephew William de Moravia, and it appears that eventually Cuthbert Murray, who died in 1493, constructed the castle in his lifetime. The fact that the licence granted permission for the inclusion of an iron Yett (or gate) which gave Comlongon an almost impregnable situation is historically unique. This gate or Yett is still in place today. 5


comlongon_history
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