Cartoon characters stand in front of a castle with a moody sky behind them

Caerlaverock is the epitome of a fairytale castle, with its unique triangular shape and surrounding moat. Visitors already flock to this Dumfries and Galloway treasure to learn all about its turbulent history.

Now, with exciting developments in technology, Caerlaverock has become the first Historic Scotland site to have an augmented reality app. This means you can bring characters from the castle’s history to life and hear tales from the siege of 1300 as you explore the castle and grounds.

In this blog, meet the key characters in the story, as they await the return of Sir Eustace Maxwell and his family to the castle.

Arnott, the Steward

Meet Arnott. As the Steward, his role was to be in charge of the castle household. He would have been tasked with reassembling the castle staff from around the area around Caerlaverock and managing the lord’s finances.

In the absence of the lord, the steward would take charge as the most trusted of the servants in the castle.

Philip, the Marshal

As our Marshal, Philip would have organised the logistics for Sir Eustace’s return. As well as being in charge of the lord’s forces, he was also responsible for arranging the ceremonial aspects of the household’s activities.

In the Castle Quest story, he has arrived with the first delivery of the Maxwell’s furniture. He’s busy making sure everything is delivered safely and that the glass is put into the windows before the family arrive.

Katherine, the Lady in Waiting

Katherine is the personal assistant to Lady Maxwell. She was the Lady’s companion and secretary. She would offer practical assistance, carry messages for her and was entrusted with carrying her jewellery.

Katherine is reminiscing about the glory days of Caerlaverock before the siege in 1300. She hopes that the castle will be reinstated to how it was before and worries about all the family treasures that were destroyed during and after the siege.

Drew, the Stonemason

Meet Drew, the medieval stonemason. A highly skilled craftsman, he would have served a seven year apprenticeship to learn his craft. His skills were always in high demand. The stonemason would have carved the gargoyles on the castle, work he would have been very proud of.

In the Castle Quest story, Drew is in the process of repairing the rear wall of the castle and recovering the lost stone from the moat.

Walter, the Priest

The priest carried out ceremonies in the community. He would ensure that members of his parish observed religious occasions and festivals and would give his community a basic education. Being educated also meant he would have a role passing on messages from the lords or bishops to the parish.

Walter is about to write and deliver letters of invitation to the local lords. After the siege, Dundrennan Abbey was his place of sanctuary.

Isabel, the Alewife

The alewife would brew and sell ale to the community. The quality of water at the time was variable, so ale was sometimes safer to drink. As well as being preferred for taste and occasionally, a sign of status.

As the ale went sour very quickly, the alewife would be continually brewing fresh batches to keep her customers happy. This was a great way for women to add additional income to a household.

Howard, the Chamberlain

Castle Quest will also introduce you to Howard, the chamberlain, who is having his own treasure hunt. He’s searching for the gold coins he hid away from the English army during the siege.

The old castle was his preferred hiding place for Sir Eustace’s valuables. Once he has recovered the gold, he’s going to spend some of it on luxuries to make the castle comfortable.

The role of the chamberlain was to look after the lord, assist with dressing him and making sure he was comfortable. He may also have looked after the livery of the lord’s knights, made sure the lord’s coat of arms was showing and looked after the castle finances.

Martyne, the Forester

In medieval times, foresters held a position similar to a sheriff. They would make sure the lord got a good price for his timber and that nobody poached the lord’s game. During times of war, foresters were often used as scouts to keep an eye on enemy troop movements.

In the story of the App, Martyne is out patrolling the woods around the castle, looking for poachers and other criminals. The woods are a good source of timber for repairing the damage to the castle so Martyn has been looking for suitable trees to use. He’s also been coppicing firewood to make sure the fires in the castle don’t go out.

Alexander, the Falconer

As the trainer of the lord’s hunting birds, the falconer would ensure they were familiar with humans. They could revert to being wild if they did not have enough contact. He would teach hawks to fly back to him by training them to take food from his hand.

As you meet Alexander, he is happily showing off his goshawk, who he has been using to hunt rabbits in the woods for the cook.

Patrick, the Cook

The valued medieval cook was responsible for the food the household ate. Patrick ensured the lord had his favourite meals made how he liked them.

Cooks would memorise recipes of favourite dishes to keep the lord happy (the master of Lamberth Castle had his cook imprisoned in 1302 for serving a poor meal!).

Patrick is out foraging around the castle’s lands, and his food preparations for the return of the Maxwell’s are well underway.

Valerie, the Head Maid

In charge of the castle cleaning staff, the head maid would ensure the fires were set and floors were swept. If tapestries were dusty, she would arrange for them to be taken outside and beaten to refresh them.

The head maid’s jobs were never ending. Medieval castles were never the cleanest of environments…

Valerie is out collecting meadowsweet for the castle floors, to disguise the smell of damp. She’s hoping that the Maxwells will bring plenty of tapestries to decorate the rooms of the castle and take the chill out of the draughty castle.

The head maid is modelled on Valerie, the real monument manager at Caerlaverock Castle, and she voices her character as well. You can find out more about how we made the app in our blog post What’s in an app?

Download and start your quest!

As you explore the castle and meet our characters, you’ll collect flag pieces from them all. Piece these together at the end to complete your challenge, but look out –there’s also traitors to uncover and tales to discover!

Download the free Caerlaverock Castle Quest app in advance of your visit to the castle:

Download for Android

Download for iOS

Happy questing!


About Author


Kara ter Morsche

Kara ter Morsche was one of our marketing executives, working mainly with our national events programme and Historic Scotland properties in the South. She's now moved on from HES.