Brodick castle was built between 1250 and 1270, just one of three castles built at this time, the others being Kildonan and Lochranza. Located on a high wooded area of land at the foot of the Goatfell mountain range in Arran, the castle saw many a clan battle.
The name Brodick is thought to derive from Breiðvík dating back to the Viking age and meaning Broad Bay. The Viking connection is further backed up by the castles central location on the island. The Isle of Arran under went a variety of battles and treaties in the twelfth century before the island fell under the influence of the Stewart's, who would then soon vie for control with the MacDonald's.
Brodick castle was the strongest and most prepared for battle out of the three sister castles, suggesting that it was built by the MacDonald's who were renowned for their sturdy fortresses always ready for battle, with the Stewart's building the other two castles.
In the fourteenth century the owner of Brodick castle was a supporter of Edward l throughout the duration of the Wars for Scottish Independence, however this did not deter Robert the Bruce from seeking homage on the island. With the death of Edward l just on the horizon Bruce began his siege to capture all English held Scottish castles which eventually led to the victory at Bannockburn in 1314. It was hereafter that the Isle of Arran was granted to the Stewarts.
In the fifteenth century Brodick Castle came under further attack including a raid by Henry lV of England and an onslaught from the MacDonald's. Later in the same century the castle was passed to Lord James Hamilton, and his son also called James was titled as Earl of Arran in 1503. It was shortly after this change the castle was remade into a rectangular three storey Tower House. Further repairs were made to the castle following an attack in 1528 by the Campbells and the Macleans.
Brodick was still owned by the Hamiltons when the War of the Three Kingdoms began in the seventeenth century. James Hamilton supported the Royalist movement and was greatly opposed by the all powerful Campbells who attacked the castle in 1639 and again in 1644. James was later executed following his defeat at the Battle of Preston and the parliamentary forces under Oliver Cromwell overran Scotland.
Brodick castle was protected by English troops in 1652 until they withdrew when it was returned to the Hamiltons and restored again. The Hamilton's had other extensive lands elsewhere and Arran became less important to them. In the nineteenth century Brodick castle was rebuilt and refurbished to the way it is today. This began in 1844 with Alexander, Duke of Hamilton.
The castle was then passed on by marriage to James Graham, Duke of Montrose in 1906, where it remained in the family until 1957 when it was given to the Treasury in substitute of inheritance tax and placed into the care of the National Trust for Scotland. This is how the castle remains today for all to see and you can visit it and explore the grounds for a fantastic family day out.