Lauriston Castle

The History Of Lauriston Castle

LocationDavidson’s Mains, County of Edinburgh, Scotland (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byCity of Edinburgh Council
Official WebsiteLauriston Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (Filming, Weddings)

Lauriston Castle is a 16th-century tower house set in 30 acres of parkland and gardens. The visitors are treated to a stroll in the beautiful Lauriston Castle gardens with stunning views across the Firth of Forth.

History

A fortified residence existed at Lauriston during the Middle Ages. However, it was completely destroyed when the Earl of Hertford attacked it during Henry VIII’s Wars of Rough Wooing in 1544. In 1593, Sir Archibald Napier of Merchiston built a new tower house for his son, Archibald. The tower house was built according to a traditional L-plan, with a circular stair tower and angle turrets. After Sir Archibald died in 1608, Lauriston Castle was inherited by his younger son, Sir Alexander Napier, who later became a Lord of Session and was titled, Lord Lauriston. When Alexander died in 1629, the castle was first transferred to John Cant of the Grange, Thomas Rigg of Aithernie, and Robert Dalgleish. However, in 1683, the castle was purchased by William Law, a goldsmith in Edinburgh. The castle remained in the Law family for several generations, although it was not used as a principal residence. 

In 1823, the castle was sold by John William Law to Thomas Allan, a banker and mineralogist. He commissioned the famous architect William Burn to extend and remodel the house in the glorious Jacobean style. William Robert Reid, a cabinet-maker, purchased the Lauriston Castle in 1902 and installed modern plumbing and electricity. He and his wife Margaret filled the castle with beautiful furniture and decorative art. They decided to leave Lauriston Castle for Scotland as they had no immediate heirs. It was granted on the condition that their home is preserved the way it was gifted. The City of Edinburgh Council has looked after the castle, its contents, and grounds since Mrs. Reid died in 1926. The Home Guard occupied it during the Second World War, but it has operated as a museum since then.

Architecture

Lauriston Castle
Lauriston Castle, by theleastweasel, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Lauriston Castle is a much-altered 16th-century tower house consisting of three stories and an attic, with a two-story Jacobean extension, designed by William Burn in 1824-27. The tower house consists of a stair-tower, two large pepperpot bartizans crowns on one side, and very tall chimneys. Lauriston Castle stands in beautiful grounds and gardens laid out by William Playfair in the 1840s. The people of Kyoto gifted Lauriston Castle Japanese Garden, which exists on the castle grounds. The castle holds a collection of Southern Italian and Dutch furniture, Blue John ornaments, Eastern rugs, and Crossley wool mosaics. The furniture collection at the castle includes pieces from Scotland, England, and Europe.

The castle is presently closed for the safety of the visitors and staff. However, the castle grounds are open to the public. Castle’s opening times for visiting castle grounds are between 8 am-7.30 pm every day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns Lauriston Castle?

Lauriston Castle has been owned and maintained by the City of Edinburgh Council since 1926 and runs as a museum today.

How old is Lauriston Castle?

Lauriston Castle was built in 1590 by Sir Archibald Napier of Merchiston, making it around 432 years old.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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