Thirlstane castle

Thirlestane Castle, Lauder, Berwickshire, Scotland


One of the oldest castles in Scotland is Thirlestane Castle, ancestral home of the Maitland family, who have been Earls of Lauderdale since 1590. 

One of their ancestors, John Maitland (1616-82) is still said to walk the castle. He was a staunch Royalist and a friend of Charles II, fighting alongside him at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. He was captured and held at the Tower of London for 9 years before being released at the Restoration, when he became Secretary of State for Scotland. 

His first wife died when she was 27, and within weeks he had married Elizabeth Murray, Countess of Dysart. 

John Maitland’s spirit is also said to haunt the nearby St Mary’s Church in Haddington, where he was buried in the vast Maitland vault. His brain and intestines were placed in a lead urn by the side of his ornate coffin, and when the iron doors to the tomb was opened in later years the coffin has always been moved.

Castle and Grounds 
Open Daily from 10:30am to 5pm daily except Saturday April to October. Last admission 4:15pm

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