Mary, Queen of Scots Home Page
|The Central Tower (above left) was a residential unit for the
15th century castle. The round stair tower was added in 1667. Many of its inmates, mostly
political prisoners, were people of high rank and were confined in some comfort within the
The upper rooms in the South Tower are largely those provided during James V's reign between 1537 and 1542. They were altered in 1667 following the damage caused by Cromwell's guns in 1650. The Great Hall was solely for domestic use, and where banquets were held. It has the traditional kitchen hatch, large fireplace and minstrels' gallery.
|Blackness was an important state prison until the 1707 Treaty of Union. Many of its inmates, mostly political prisoners, were people of high rank and were confined in some comfort within the Central ("prison") Tower. The most famous was Cardinal Beaton, imprisoned here in 1543. The constable of Blackness also has responsibility for maintaining law and order locally and those offenders were incarcerated here. This prison was divided into two compartments, one above the other. The upper chamber, the "prison", had a fireplace, a latrine closet and reasonable lighting and ventilation. The hatch in the floor gives access to the "pit", a particularly grim hole lacking all amenities save the ebb and flow of the tide "slopping out" twice daily. Even in its treatment of wrong-doers, medieval society paid due regard to rank and station, for the pit was reserved for the lowest of the low.|
|Open all year except Thursdays pm and Fridays from October to March. Tel.: 44+ (0)1506 834807
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