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Castles and Historic Buildings of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland

 Castles of Scotland - Borthwick Castle

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near Borthwick, Lothian, Scotland

Borthwick Castle is located to the east of the village of Borthwick, about 12 miles south-east of Edinburgh. The castle sits on a small hill and is protected on three sides by steep slopes. Borthwick Castle was built in 1430 for Sir William Borthwick. The castle is a double tower and in good condition, and none of the original narrow windows have been changed. The battlements are supported by projecting corbels with corner roundels, but have lost their stepped crenellations. The tower has two doorways. One doorway at ground-level leads into the partly underground kitchen and storage-vaults. The other doorway is directly above it at first-floor level, and leads into the stone-vaulted great hall. The castle is accessed via a reconstructed stone bridge.

Borthwick Castle was built on the site of an earlier structure in the 15th century. The castle is the seat of the Borthwick family ancestral seat. Sir William Borthwick built the castle in 1430. The castle was originally a stone enclosure fortress centred on a tall tower house with walls up to 14 feet thick. The tower is U-shaped with a 12 foot gap between the towers. There was a surrounding defensive courtyard with round towers at the corners. The tower house is in mainly original condition but the surrounding wall and towers have been restored.

Borthwick Castle was visited twice by Mary I of Scotland, in 1563 and again in 1567 when she was besieged inside - she escaped the siege by disguising herself as a page.

In 1650 the Castle was attacked by Oliver Cromwell's forces, and was surrendered after only a few cannon shots. Cannon damage from this attack can still be seen on one of the walls. When Cromwell's forces left the castle, it lay abandoned for many years before being restored by 1914. During World War II the castle was used to store national treasures.

In 1973 it was leased from the Borthwick family and converted into a hotel. Some of the guest rooms have four poster beds. The Great Hall is used as a dining room and caters for banquets for up to 75 guests, as well as smaller parties and couples. The castle can be hired as a wedding venue for 2 to 75 people. Wedding ceremony (religious or civil) and reception can take place in the castle.

Other Castles in the Area
  Aberdour Castle, Fife
  Barony Castle, Scottish Borders
  Craigmillar Castle, Lothian
  Crichton Castle, Midlothian
  Dalhousie Castle, Midlothian
  Dalkeith Palace, Midlothian
  Dirleton Castle, Lothian
  Edinburgh Castle, City of Edinburgh
  Fa'side Castle, East Lothian
  Fenton Tower, Lothian
  Hailes Castle, Lothian
  Lauriston Castle, Lothian
  Liberton Tower, Lothian
  Merchiston Castle, Lothian
  Neidpath Castle, Scottish Borders
  Newbattle Abbey, Midlothian
  Tantallon Castle, East Lothian
  Thirlestane Castle, Scottish Borders
  Traquair House, Scottish Borders
  Venlaw Castle, Scottish Borders

Venlaw Castle
Borthwick Castle Gates. Borthwick Castle, now a hotel, very popular for weddings.

Photograph by Bob Smith. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Venlaw Castle
Borthwick Castle, North Middleton

Photograph by Nick Watts. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Venlaw Castle
Borthwick Castle

Photograph by Trish Steel. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

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