Monday 16 March 2015

Craigmillar Castle - Edinburgh's Other Castle!

Edinburgh's other castle is situated about three miles south east of the city.  It is an amazing place to visit.  I was surprised to find it surrounded by countryside which makes it difficult to believe it is so near the city.

The Castle was built by local lairds of the name de Preston, sheriffs of Midlothian.  They owned lands at Gorton (near Roslin) and Craigmillar.  Building the castle probably began in the 14th century with the tower house.  The Preston family were very much involved in Edinburgh's political life.  Over the years the castle was altered and added to and funds allowed and fashion dictated.

CraigmillarCastle is most associated with Mary Queen of Scots who used it as a summer residence and came here to recuperate after the birth of her son, the future James VI in 1566.  Craigmillar Castle is also where (it is rumoured) Mary (or at least her nobles) conspired to get rid of her husband Lord Darnley.  This was known as the "Craigmillar Bond".

Preston Coat of Arms
The estate was sold to Sir John Gilmour in 1660.  Gilmour was a lawyer and supported or Charles II.  He became president to the Court of Session.  He totally transformed Craigmillar by modernising it and making it a fashionable residence.  The family eventually moved to Gilmerton and the castle was let.  By 1775 it had fallen into ruin, attracting artists and poets who enjoyed its picturesque decay.

Trees now grow in the inner courtyard which add to the beauty of the place.

There is a P shaped ornamental pond in the grounds, probably dating from about the mid 16th century.

This is what is called a rebus - device that uses pictures for words or parts of words.  The family name of Preston is shown by a cheese press and a barrel or tun of beer - Preston!

The views of Edinburgh from the battlements are amazing!

HistoricScotland have been looking after the Castle since 1946.


mamasmercantile said...

Definitely on my to do list when I visit Edinburgh later on in the year.

Kezzie said...

I love this Liz! What a picturesque and interesting place it looks!x

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Thank you for sharing, Liz! I'd sure love to see it someday...

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

I don't remember that from my trip to Edinburgh, interesting. Culreuch Castle near Fintry is my family's castle going back to the 1300's Galbraith