Crookston Castle is located in the Pollok district of Glasgow, some 5 miles (8 km) south of the city center and overlooking the Levern Water, just before its confluence with the White Cart Water. The castle was originally a rectangular structure, later strengthened by the addition of towers at each corner, although only one tower at the northeast corner survives at its former height. The entrance was adjacent and defended by a portcullis and two doors. The castle is surrounded by a defensive ring ditch that dates base to the 12th century when Sir Robert Croc built an earlier castle and chapel, now lost. He gave his name to the village of Crookston.
The castle had been besieged by King James IV in 1489, was significantly damaged and later abandoned.
The estate containing Croc's castle was bought by the Darnley Stewarts in the 14th Century and they built the later castle here. It was long the property of the Stuarts of Darnley, including Henry Stuart (1545-67), who was second husband to Mary, Queen of Scots. According to Gordon Mason in The Castles of Glasgow and the Clyde, it was under a yew tree at Crookston Castle where the couple was betrothed.
The ruin passed through various hands, including the Dukes of Montrose, who sold it to the Maxwells of Pollok in 1757. This family partially restored the castle to commemorate the visit of Queen Victoria to Glasgow in 1847.
The main body of the castle measures about 18m by 12m (60 feet by 40 feet) and it had a large tower at each corner. The northeast tower is still largely intact, the southeast tower stands to about 1 storey, and there is very little sign of the two western towers. The towers had one room on each floor, and there is still access all the way to the roof of the northeast tower giving an impressive view of the southside of Glasgow.
In 1931, Crookston became the first property acquired by the National Trust for Scotland, having been presented by Sir John Stirling Maxwell (1866 - 1956), who was one of the Trust's founder members and first Vice Presidents. Today, its maintenance is the responsibility of Historic Scotland.
The poets Robert Burns (1759-96), William Motherwell (1797 - 1835) and Robert Tannahill (1774 - 1810) have all mentioned the castle in their works, while Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) suggested Mary, Queen of Scots, watched the Battle of Langside (1568) from its towers, although the topography makes this impossible.