by Affordable Tours

This version (2015/08/18 08:24) was approved by afftrs.


Basic Info

Name: Craigmillar Castle
Country: Scotland

Hours: -
Ticket Prices: -
Website: -


This castle is famous chiefly because it was the place where the murder of Darnley, husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, was planned while the queen was actually staying there in 1566-7. It is also interesting by virtue of its plan, which is the result of four main periods of building.
The castle began in the late fourteenth century as a large plan tower-house, 16.1 x I?1.r) metres (53 x 49 ft). It has walls over 2.7 Meters (9 ft) thick, and is built with close- rubble of red-grey sandstone, with long, dressed quoins. The entrance to the castle is positioned in the small extending wing from the south side of the tower, which also contains a spiral staircase.
The great tower-house was fortified in the 1 1420s by a massive quadrangular enclosure wall on both sides of the south of the tower where :1 Cliff forms a natural defense, and extending wide on the other three sides to form a courtyard, With rounded towns on the corners which were machicolated. The enclosure wall 0 1.5 metres (5 ft) thick and about 8.5 metres (38 ft) tall. Ranges of buildings were erected along the inside of three sectors of the enclosure. The entrance is in the north wall.
Gun-ports were built in the north-east and the south-east comer towers. There are also gunports of later insertion in three of the four towers.
Extensions were added to the quadrangle in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and, to its north, a large outer courtyard enclosed in a curtain wall was created in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. On the east comer of this outer enclosure is a dovecot with gun-ports.

Craigmillar was attacked and burned by the Earl of Hertford (later the Duke of Somerset) on behalf of Henny VIII in 1544. But it was restored in burr for Mary, Queen of Scots to reside there from 1566-7, after the murder of her Italian secretary, David Rizzio, by her husband Darnley. During her stay, a band of conspirators, Argyll, Huntly, Bothwell, `Mr Secretary' Maitland and Gilbert Balfour, met and plotted to ensure that the young fool and proud terrine could not reign nor bear reull over shame: and that … he could be put off, by any way or other …'

Visitor Accounts

Tim and Brenda, 33, from Washington State, wrote:
We were MARRIED in Craigmillar Castle (May 17, 1997). It was arranged through a Bridal Consultant (in the London area). Visit our personal site @ There are links with photos there.
It was an AMAZING experience and not that much different in cost for the “rental” than any other location. How many folks can say they were married in a REAL castle? GO FOR IT!
Jeff Barrie, 33, from Washington state, wrote:
I found Craigmiller castle a breath of fresh air. When I was sightseeing castles in Scotland I visited Stirling, Edinburgh, Dunvagen, and the like. These all have been dressed up to give the visitor an impression of what a castle would be like at that time. Only Craigmiller allowed you to experience the raw, time worn, battle scarred, real forboding castle that it was. The castle must also be off the main tourist routes because when I was there only two other people where visiting as well.
A castle lover from Tennessee, wrote:
I was visiting Edinburgh for my son's wedding this summer and found the city to be absolutely breathtaking! I was accompanied by my 87 year old mother, a direct descendant of the Prestons, who, if memory serves me, built Craigmillar Castle back in the 1300's The word “castle” conjures up visions of royalty, grandeur, lavishness, great wealth, etc., but I was somewhat surprised to see how small, uncomfortable looking, primitive the interior was (even taking into account the age of the structure). It was said that Mary Queen of Scots had stayed there a time or two, and that the assassination of her husband was plotted there. I am not wealthy by a long shot, but I seem to live a whole lot better than the privileged classes of that era. It was an incredible feeling to stand in a place, and stroll the grounds where history makers stood, strolled, laughed and talked, ate and slept (not to mention plotted murder) so long ago. I hope I have the opportunity to return to that wonderful city in the near future. I understand fully why my son loves it so.

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Last modified:: 2015/08/18 13:06