Kirkintilloch Town and Parish Kirkintilloch Castle
When the castle was built
is unknown, but probably in the thirteenth century, and its situation is
perhaps doubtful, but it is more than likely to have been on the site of
the old Roman fort at the Peel. It belonged to the Comyns, and probably
was built by them, and destroyed in the time of Bruce.
The Romans no doubt
selected the Peel as the strongest place for a fortress; and it would
recommend itself to the Comyns as equally serviceable for theirs. Mr.
Dairymple Duncan suggests to us a potent reason which we regard as
conclusive of our theory. The name Peel is an old purely Scottish word
signifying a place of strength, and Comyns castle has given it that
namenot the Roman fort, which would be in ruins long previous to that
time, if there were any vestige of building above ground at all, after
the lapse of about a thousand years.
The piece of ground
referred to in Lord Wigtons charter to the town as Cumynschach or
Comyn's Haugh and which is near the Peel is also corroborative evidence.
A curious circumstance
occurred in connection with the castle, and the building of Glasgow
The Lord of Luss granted
to the chapter of the cathedral the privilege of cutting timber on Loch
Lomond for the building, and Bishop Robert Wishartwho was consecrated
in 1272had charge of the arrangements.
He was called the
warlike bishop and was an ardent patriot He stoutly contested the claim
of Edward I. to the kingdom of Scotland; was a partisan of Wallace;
granted absolution to Bruce from the sin of stabbing the treacherous
Comyn in the church of Dumfries; and was
afterwards his ardent supporter.
The castle of
Kirkintilloch was in possession of the English and was being besieged by
the Scots; and the warlike Bishop whose patriotic spirit for the
time overcame his ecclesiastical tendencieshad no scruple in using part
of the timber intended for the cathedral in making catapults or engines
of war for the siege of Kirkintilloch castle.
For this, he was
afterwards bitterly reproached by King Edward, who also wrote to the
pope complaining of the bishop assisting the Scotch against himand the
pope wrote thus to the bishop on 13th August, 1302: I have heard with
astonishment that you, as a rock of offence and a stone of stumbling,
have been the prime instigator and promoter of the fatal disputes
between the Scottish nation and Edward King of England, my dearly
beloved son in Christ, to the displeasing of the Divine Majesty, to the
hazard of your own honour and salvation, and to the inexpressible
detriment of the kingdom of Scotland. If these things are so, you have
rendered yourself odious to God and man. It befits you to repent, and by
your most earnest endeavours after peace to strive to obtain
forgiveness. To which the bishop answered that, It is better to fight
for Robert the Bruce in Scotland, than against the Saracens in the Holy
The good Bishop fought
on, until, when defending Cupar against the English, he was taken
prisoner in 1306, and was not liberated till after the Battle of
Bannockburn in 1314 he died in 1316.
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