restored castles


The 12th-century Astley Castle in Warwickshire, England, was transformed by Witherford Watson and Mann architects in 2013.


Matsue Castle

Built in 1611 by Yoshiharu Horio, founder of the Matsue clan, and previously a lord of Toda Castle, which was known as one of the strongest castles in battles at the time. Yoshiharu took control of Matsue Castle following the battle of Sekigahara (1600). He rebuilt the original castle over a number of years as a much stronger castle built for battles that it never saw, with both and inner and outer moats. For 230 years until the castle was abandoned in 1871 under the Meiji restoration, the castle was home to the Matsudaira clan, a junior branch of the ruling Tokugawa family. Thankfully due to protests by locals the castle keep escape being dismantled, making this one of the 12 original castles still standing in Japan.

The castle underwent reconstruction and repair work in the 1950s, along with further restorations on three turrets - Minami, Naka, & Taiko rebuilt in 2001 - and in 2015 it was designated as a National Important Cultural Property. The graves of all nine Matsudaira lords are located at the Gesshō Temple east of the castle, and a boat cruise around the moats is also available. From the top floor of the castle tower, you can experience the same extensive view as the samurai of 400 years ago, looking across the castle grounds, city, and Lake Shinji-ko.


Castle Stalker Sunset

The original castle was a small fort, built around 1320 by Clan MacDougall who were then Lords of Lorn. Around 1388 the Stewarts took over the Lordship of Lorn, and it is believed that they built the castle in its present form around the 1440s. The Stewart’s relative King James IV of Scotland visited the castle, and a drunken bet around 1620 resulted in the castle passing to Clan Campbell. After changing hands between these clans a couple of times the Campbells finally abandoned the castle in about 1840, when it lost its roof. In 1908 the castle was bought by Charles Stewart of Achara, who carried out basic conservation work. In 1965 Lt. Col. D. R. Stewart Allward acquired the castle and over about ten years fully restored it. Castle Stalker remains in private ownership and is open to the public at selected times during the summer.

The Hunyad Castle (Romanian: Castelul Huniazilor or Castelul Corvineştilor, Hungarian: Vajdahunyad vára) is a castle in TransylvanianHunedoara, present-day Romania. Until 1541 it was part of the Kingdom of Hungary, and after the Principality of Transylvania.

It is believed to be the place where Vlad III of Wallachia (commonly known as Vlad the Impaler) was held prisoner for 7 years after he was deposed in 1462.

The castle is a relic of the Hunyadi dynasty. In the 14th century, the castle was given to John Hunyadi Serb, or Sorb by Sigismund king of Hungary as severance. The castle was restored between 1446 and 1453 by his grandson John Hunyadi. It was built mainly in Gothic style, but has Renaissance architectural elements. It features tall and strong defense towers, an interior yard and a drawbridge. Built over the site of an older fortification and on a rock above the small river Zlasti, the castle is a large and imposing building with tall and diversely colored roofs, towers and myriad windows and balconies adorned with stone carvings.

As one of the most important properties of John Hunyadi, the castle was transformed during his reign. It became a sumptuous home, not only a strategically enforced point. With the passing of the years, the masters of the castle had modified its look, adding towers, halls and guest rooms. The gallery and the keep – the last defense tower (called “Ne boisa” = Do not be afraid), which remained unchanged from Iancu de Hunedoara’s time, and the Capistrano Tower (named after the Franciscan monk from the castle court) are some of the most significant parts of the construction. Other significant parts of the building are the Knights’ Hall (a great reception hall), the Club Tower, the White bastion, which served as a food storage room, and the Diet Hall, on whose walls medallions are painted (among them there are the portraits of Matei Basarab, ruler from Wallachia, and Vasile Lupu, ruler of Moldavia). In the wing of the castle called the Mantle, a painting can be seen which portrays the legend of the raven from which the name of the descendants of John Hunyadi, Corvinus came.

In the castle yard, near the chapel built also during Vlad The Third’s ruling, is a well 30 meters deep. The legend says that this fountain was dug by twelve Turkish prisoners to whom liberty was promised if they reached water. After 15 years they completed the well, but their captors did not keep their promise. It is said that the inscription on a wall of the well means “you have water, but not soul”. Specialists, however, have translated the inscription as “he who wrote this inscription is Hasan, who lives as slave of the giaours, in the fortress near the church”.

In February 2007, Hunyad Castle played host to the British paranormal television program Most Haunted Live! for a three-night live investigation into the spirits reported to be haunting the castle.


Kisimul Castle, Scotland

Kisimul Castle sits on a rocky islet in the bay just off the coast of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. As it is completely surrounded by the sea, it can only be reached by boat and is all but impregnable. Kisimul has its own fresh water wells. Legend has it that this has been the stronghold of the MacNeils since the 11th century. The earliest documentary record of Kisimul Castle dates from the mid 16th century.

Kisimul was abandoned in 1838 when the island was sold, and the castle’s condition deteriorated. Some of its stone was used as ballast for fishing vessels, and some even ended up as paving in Glasgow. The remains of the castle, along with most of the island of Barra, were purchased in 1937 by Robert Lister MacNeil, the then chief of Clan MacNeil, who made efforts at restoration.

In 2001 the castle was leased by the chief of Clan MacNeil to Historic Scotland for 1000 years for the annual sum of £1 and a bottle of whisky.

More northmen coming in as word spreads of our victory… We are five thousand strong as I write, our numbers swelling every day. And word has come to us that Roose Bolton moves toward Winterfell with all his power, there to wed his bastard to your half sister. He must not be allowed to restore the castle to its former strength. We march against him.

I will save your sister if I can, and find a better match for her than Ramsay Snow. You and your brothers must hold the Wall until I can return. (A Dance with Dragons, Jon VII)


Niddry Castle, West Lothian, Scotland

The castle is believed to date back to the end of the 15th century. It was built by George, 4th Lord Seton, who like most of the rest of the Scottish nobility, fell with his king at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Fifty-five years later, a subsequent Lord Seton met Mary Queen of Scots on her escape from Loch Leven Castle and after escorting her across the Forth at Queensferry, brought her here to the safety of Niddry Castle on the night of 2 May 1568. It was from here that Mary sent a messenger to seek assistance from her cousin and fellow queen, Elizabeth I of England. The next day she rode west to Hamilton and then the Battle of Langside, followed by a flight southwards across the border and then eventually an English prison for the rest of her sad life. In later years, the castle and its lands, like so much else in West Lothian, was acquired by the Hopes of Hopetoun. In the 1990s, Niddry Castle was restored by Peter Wright as a private residence.

Niddry Castle stands just to the north of the Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line, on a rocky outcrop with Niddry Castle Golf Course curling around it.

This Day in Disney History

January 31, 1998:  Cinderella’s Castle, which had been decorated like a cake for Disney World’s 25th Anniversary Celebration, is returned to it’s former glory.

One of the least enjoyed aesthetic changes to the Magic Kingdom, the pink castle was easily one of the most ridiculous looking ideas out of Disney to date. With bright pink paint and inflatable candies, it was practically an eyesore while it lasted.  I was just a kid when it was there and barely remember it, but even as a 10-year-old girl, I knew tacky when I saw it!

Luckily, the castle was restored on this day, and other than Stitch’s toilet paper takeover and the holiday lights (which are absolutely beautiful), it should look normal and regal standing at the end of Main Street USA.