Region : Lauder
Location : Berwickshire
Details : The history of Thirlestane dates back to at least the 13th century, when a large Border fort was built on the site to defend the approach to Edinburgh from the south. The central part of the present Castle was completed in 1590, remodelled in the 1670s, and then again in the 1840s.
Throughout its long history, Thirlestane belonged to the
Maitland family . John Maitland, 2nd Earl of Lauderdale, was one of the most important and controversial Scottish figures of the late 17th century. As a leading royalist, he was a confidant of King Charles II and spent nine years in the Tower of London under sentence of death. After the Restoration, he was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland. As such, he was virtually the uncrowned King of Scotland, and wielded unrivalled power and influence.
On his second marriage to the Countess of Dysart, he began transforming Thirlestane Castle into a fitting palace from which to direct the affairs of Scotland. By the 19th century, Thirlestane’s role had evolved in more peaceful times to that of a Scottish country mansion for the Earls of Lauderdale. The social use to which the Castle was now put required more space, so in 1840 the Edinburgh architects, David Bryce and William Burn, were employed to design two large wings flanking the central Keep. The south wing, constructed around a central courtyard, housed new kitchens, pantries, laundries and servants’ accommodation.
Paranormal Phenomena : John Maitland is alleged to walk the castle, no further details seem forthcoming.