Craigmillar Castle, Mid-Lothian

Craigmillar dates to around 1400 and was most probably built for Sir George Preston. It began life as a simple z-shaped tower house, but was later enlarged to a far grander structure.

The central ward, very much in the French design, were most likely added by Sir William Preston around 1453 on his return from Wars on the continent.

In 1480 John, Earl of Mar was imprisoned here and convicted of witchcraft against his brother, James III. Around 1500 the outer walls were completed and Craigmillar was more or less the structure we see today.

However, it was burnt down by the Earl of Hertford in 1544. A rebuild must have taken place quite quickly as Mary, Queen of Scots stayed here in both 1563 and 1566, during this latter stay the death of Darnley was plotted at Craigmillar. Mary's son, James VI - the future James I of England - also visited Craigmillar in 1589.

The last of the Prestons to own Craigmillar sold it to the Gilmours in 1660. Sir John Gilmour added a wing to the Castle in 1671 and this part of the Castle was the only section to survive into the 1700s. A plan was put into place to rebuild Craigmillar for Queen Victoria, but nothing ever came of it and today Historic Scotland own the Castle, overlooked on the forgotten edges of Edinburgh but certainly worth a visit.

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