Featured image for Torwood Castle

The History of Torwood Castle

Torwood Castle is a ruined 16th-century L-plan castle in central Scotland. Nowadays, it is a crumbling shell of what it once was in its prime. Its stationary silhouette sits ever so quietly in the green countryside providing a beautiful view for anyone who views it from a distance.

Unfortunately, a view from afar is all you can see of the castle as it is no longer open to the public.

The history of Torwood Castle

Now designated as a Category A listed building, this castle has seen many attempts of restoration throughout recent years. While none of those attempts have been successful, all hope is not yet lost. Originally classed as a low-risk site, it is hoped that it can be restored before it is classed as dangerous.

Even with only a short history, this castle still has a lot to tell.

File:Torwood Castle ruin April 2007 - geograph.org.uk - 435251.jpg
The castle is still undergoing restoration. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The early history

The estate in which Torwood Castle now stands was originally held by the Foresters of Garden. The Foresters of Garden were responsible for the nearby Royal Forest of Tor Wood from the second half of the 15th century up until the mid-17th century. In 1918, a carved stone was found with a date on it signifying that the castle was likely built around 1566 for Sir Alexander Forrester.

Changing hands

In the early 16th century, the Torwood Castle and estate passed to Clan Baillie and then onto George, 1st Lord Forrester in 1635. The castle was then captured prefatory to taking Stirling Castle during the rebellion of the Earls of Mar and Angus which soon proved to be very successful.

Restoring the castle

In 1957, the castle was purchased by Gordon Millar who embarked on a journey to slowly restore the castle. However, he was only able to stabilise the stonework with a large amount of help from friends. He then went forth and created the Torwood Castle Trust not long before his death in 1998 to continue his work.

Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful in restoring the castle and by 2015, they had ceased operations completely.

Close up of Torwood Castle
The castle is currently closed to the public. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The current day

After the mission to restore the castle failed, a friend by the name of Gary Grant took over from the trust. In 2018, he moved there and has since continued with maintaining the castle from further decay and vandalism occurring. Right now, he is in the process of securing the castle’s future for many generations to come.

At the moment, Torwood Castle is not open to the public. It is hoped that after restoration, its doors will reopen.

You may be interested in other Scottish castles such as Ballindalloch Castle and Keiss Castle.

Torwood Castle Timeline

  • 1566- Torwood Castle is built
  • Early 16th century- The Torwood Castle and estate passes to Clan Baillie
  • 1635- The castle passes on to George, 1st Lord Forrester
  • 1918- A carved stone is found with a date on it signifying that the castle was likely built around 1566
  • 1957- The castle is purchased by Gordon Millar who embarks on a journey to slowly restore the castle
  • 1998- Gordon Millar creates the Torwood Castle Trust not long before his death to continue his work
  • 2015- The trust ceases operations
  • 2018- Gary Grant moved to the castle and maintains it from further decay
Aerial photo of Torwood Castle.
Aerial view of Torwood Castle. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Torwood Castle facts

  • The roofless castle is now three stories’ tall
  • A kitchen and well room were found when the north range was excavated
  • Several bodies over the years have tried to restore the castle
  • Torwood Castle was built in an L-plan shape
  • The castle is built on high ground overlooking the Carron valley

Who owns Torwood Castle?

In 2018, Gary Grant took over from the trust and he now owns the castle. He spends a significant amount of time restoring the castle and seeing that it doesn’t become harmed in any way. After his friend, Gordon Millar passed, he felt it was his duty to take on the upkeep of the castle.

Tourism

Torwood Castle is only around two miles northeast of the town of Denny. To get to the castle, you need to follow the road that turns off the A9 in the village of Torwood. Then you need to follow the road for around a third of a mile before you will see a track on your left that is signposted as a public right of way to Denovan.

While you can’t actually go in the castle, you can take a Torwood Castle walk which will get you relatively close and enjoy the grand architecture and stature of the castle. At the moment, it is not open to the public. However, there are hopes that after further restoration, it will open again. According to many sources, Torwood Castle’s present owners has plans to rebuild the roof and significantly stabilize the structure.

Nearby, you can visit The Kelpies, Callendar House, Stirling Castle, and Tomb of Sir John De Graeme.

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