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The Scottish Castles Association
Preserving the Past for the Future

Borthwick Castle (Lothian) Past & Present


P&P Borthwick Castle past

Photo 1910 from hill where Cromwell sited his battery 

Borthwick Castle

SCA visit showing results of Cromwell's cannonade

This is, by far, the finest tower house in Scotland. Built of ashlar in the 15th century it rises high to a machicolated parapet. It is surrounded by an outer wall punctuated by towers and a gun looped gatehouse.

Famous for its association with Mary Queen of Scots it was attacked and badly damaged by Cromwell in 1650. During the second world war it was chosen as a safe place to house paintings from the National Gallery.

The old picture shows that around 1900 trees were growing from the wall top. The castle was later put in order and laterally served as a hotel. Its present use, however, is uncertain.


Date posted: 27 Nov 2013Last updated: 08 Dec 2014


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