Posted: Sat Oct 18, 2008
The twin towered fortress of Borthwick Castle was built in 1430 by the first Lord Borthwick, whose sepulchre can still be seen with that of his Lady in the old village church. A charter to build the Castle was awarded to Sir William de Borthwick by King James I in thanks for his part in bringing the King home to Scotland after 18 years imprisonment in England.
The Castle was built as a stronghold capable of withstanding attack from invaders, particularly the English. It was also a base from which offensive action could be launched when needed. The stone used was of the finest quality, with 100 feet walls, 20 feet thick at the base and originally had a moat, drawbridge and portcullis.
It was also a home to the Borthwicks, where lavish entertaining took place in the impressive Great Hall. You can still see the magnificent canopied fireplace 20 feet (6m) high and 15 feet (4.5m) wide to the right of which is a "sedile" - a seat of honour for the master of the house enriched with a carved canopy and a shield bearing the Borthwick Arms.
The Tragic Queen
The Castle played host to many distinguished guests and Mary Queen of Scots enjoyed the hospitality of the Sixth Lord Borthwick on many occasions, including her honeymoon. So inevitably she and her third husband the Earl of Bothwell sought sanctuary at Borthwick in 1567 when they learned that the Scottish nobles (who were suspicious of Bothwell’s influence on Mary) planned to capture them. A force of 1,000 men surrounded the castle but Mary escaped through a window in the Great Hall dressed as a pageboy, and rode through the night after her husband.
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Many tales have been told of ghosts wandering the Castle. Betsa Marsh, writing in a British Heritage Magazine article said:
"The Red Room has spooked so many people that the owners called in an Edinburgh priest to exorcise its lingering spirits. Legend says that a young servant girl bore an illegitimate Borthwick son in the room. Mother and baby, potential threats to the title, were quickly put to the sword. In other era, the Borthwick family chancellor used this room, and the niches for his safes remain in the stone wall to this day. According to gossip, the Borthwicks discovered their chancellor was embezzling money from the family coffers. Eschewing the nicety of a performance review, they intercepted the chancellor on his way home from Edinburgh one evening and cancelled his contract by burning him to death. The ghosts of the young servant girl and the fired chancellor still wander the stony spiral staircases of Borthwick, some people say, and even the most stalwart visitors admit to feeling invisible presences in the Great Hall."
The castle is a working hotel and was put up for sale last year. There are beautiful photos at the website. I think they do a lot of weddings there must say, it looks like a wonderful venue.
Bothwick Castle Public Rooms
For sale: One castle, fit for a queen (ghosts also included)
Published Date: 26 January 2008
By JOHN INNES
A CASTLE in the Lothians where Mary Queen of Scots spent her honeymoon is up for sale, priced at offers over £3 million.
Borthwick Castle boasts nine bedrooms, a Great Hall and a minstrel's gallery, and is set in seven and a half acres of grounds. The two-bedroom Tower Gate lodge is also included in the sale.
But potential buyers are warned of ghosts that haunt the building, including that of a young servant girl said to wander its spiral staircases.
The 15th century castle in North Middleton, Midlothian, was a family home for centuries but has been a hotel for more than 20 years.
Edinburgh estate agent George Goldsmith said of the A-listed building: "It's a very romantic, unique, historic building."
For Sale Once Castle
I don't know that it sold. If you have 3 million tucked away, you might still be able to buy it!
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