Scottish Water unearths castles during Glasgow infrastructure upgrade

Scottish Water's £250M upgrade of Glasgow's wastewater infrastructure has unearthed the remains of two medieval castles. Archaeologists are describing the discovery of a hitherto unknown 12th or 13th century medieval castle in Partick, and a little-known castle built on the same site 400 years later, as the most historically significant in the city for a generation.

The water company had been carrying out preparatory work ahead of the installation of a key piece of infrastructure as part of the upgrade when the discoveries were made.

Archaeologists unearthed a series of features, including ditches, a well and several stone walls. They believe some of these are the remains of the 17th century Partick Castle and a 12th or 13th century castle, used by the bishops of Glasgow, which was built on the same site.

There is documentary and antiquarian evidence that the 17th century castle existed, and that the bishops of Glasgow spent time in what was then rural Partick in the 12th century, but the archaeological discoveries are being described by experts as “the first hard, tangible evidence” that either castle existed.

The discoveries were made in the Castlebank Street area on the north bank of the River Kelvin, just before it joins the River Clyde, during preparations for a £3M, Scottish Water project to install a new Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO), which is due to start soon.

Simon Brassey, environmental advisor for Scottish Water, said: “The history of the area in this part of Partick, where Scottish Water needs to replace our existing CSO, is documented on old maps but it is only when the ground is opened up that you can fully understand what has survived 19th century industrialisation.

“As part of the project planning, Scottish Water identified the possibility of archaeology and so factored in time for the area to be pre-excavated. However, the discoveries are much more exciting than we had expected and we are delighted that, with the archaeologists’ help and expertise, we have been able to uncover something of such importance.

““Following these discoveries, Scottish Water will continue to do everything we can to assist the archaeologists in whatever way they require as their work progresses.”