The first Hamilton to reside in the Castle was the marquis’s aged mother. She died in Strathaven in 1725.
The last principle occupant was Duchess Anne, The daughter of the first Duke of Hamilton. She gave a number of gifts to the town including a school, a chapel and a grain mill.
As well as being very kind, she was a very bold person. It is understood that she shot at government troops passing through Strathaven, as she was not a supporter of Oliver Cromwell. She also told the Duke of Monmouth after the battle of Bothwell Bridge, not to allow his troops to disturb the grounds she owned at Strathaven and Hamilton Palace. The desire was observed by a large extent, but the English damaged both and she moved to Brodick Castle on Arran while the wars raged through mainland Scotland.
Periodically, the castle was used as a military station to keep order with the locals who were staunch Covenanters. In 1685, William Paterson was taken to the castle and shot for adhering to the word of our lord and covenant by Captain Bell. He is buried in the old Strathaven Graveyard.
Duchess Anne, after long still had strong feelings for her castle and she returned after her community, town and castle were restored. She even later allowed worship to take place in the castle hall when St Mary’s Chapel was being rebuilt, facing the north of the castle.
This church is now known as Avendale Old Parish. Duchess Anne died in 1716 and with her, the desire of the Hamilton family to reside in Strathaven. Following her death, the Duke of Hamilton’s Chamberlain and Gardner occupied the castle.
At this time, the Castle was a fine and noble building and in 1725, sadly and it is unknown why such a fine building was left unoccupied. Eventually, the local people used the castle and soon after this, the spending that was required for the upkeep wasn’t being met and the building just started to deteriorate and during 1763’s summer storms, the turrets were struck by lightning and strong winds blew the majority of the roof off. The main gates at Sandknowe were taken to the Hamilton family burial vaults.
Eventually, the back tower collapsed and the back collapsed and the old wall demolished to make way for development.
Anne, Duchess of Hamilton