Threave Castle is a four-story tower located on Threave Island nestled on the broad side of the River Dee in Kirkcudbrightshire near the town of Castle Douglas in the lowlands of Scotland. While these ancient lands once belonged to the rulers of Galloway, this 14th century tower was built by Archibald the Grim, one of the Black Douglas Earls of Nithsdale. The outer wall actually dates to the 15th century, indicating a later restoration or addition. Even today, one must cross the river by boat in order to reach Threave Castle. It's location is perfect as an offensive and defensive stronghold, since it lies on the main invasion route from the south, and served as a gathering point for plundering raids into England.
The Douglas family was loyal to Robert the Bruce, and as a result, received an earldom from Bruce's son. Black Douglas became the third Earl of Douglas, Lord of Galloway and Warden of the West March. The Douglas family continued to thrive and gain prominence. When Archibald Douglas, the 5th Earl of Douglas died, two men fought for his place. Sir Alexander Livingstone and Sir William Crichton invited the young 16-year-old Douglas heir to dine in Edinburgh Castle. All three were murdered.
King James invited William Douglas, the 8th Earl of Douglas to Sterling where he was stabbed and killed. It was said that King James resented the power of the Douglas family. He began a campaign to dismantle the Douglas strongholds and waged a two-month siege against Threave Castle. In spite of the heavy bombardment, the castle held out and the Douglas family did not surrender until King James promised various payments and safe conduct. The crown then took control of Threave Castle and surrounding grounds.