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

 Castles of Scotland - Dirleton Castle

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near North Berwick, Lothian, Scotland

Dirleton Castle is a situated in the village of Dirleton, East Lothian (about 19 miles east of Edinburgh). The castle was built in the 13th century by John De Vaux, and was abandoned by the end of the 17th century. Dirleton Castle is built on a rocky outcrop guarding the coastal approach to Edinburgh from England. The ruins of a 13th-century keep remain, along with an adjacent 16th-century house. The keep is made up of a large round tower to the south, a smaller round tower to the west, with the two round towers joined by a square tower. Other buildings within the courtyard have been demolished and basement levels of some of these survive. The castle is surrounded by gardens, which may have been first laid out in the 16th century, but is mainly 20th century plantings. There is a 16th century doocot, or pigeon house within the gardens.

The castle was heavily damaged during the Wars of Scottish Independence, when it was twice taken by the English. Dirleton was acquired by the Ruthvens in 1505. The Ruthvens were involved in several plots against Mary, Queen of Scots and King James VI, and eventually forfeited the castle in 1600. Oliver Cromwell besieged the during the Third English Civil War in 1650. The damaged castle was then acquired by the Nisbets of Dirleton who continued to maintain the castle grounds. They handed Dirleton into state care in 1923. The ruins and gardens are now in the care of Historic Scotland.

Other Castles in the Area
  Balgonie Castle, Fife
  Borthwick Castle, Lothian
  Craigmillar Castle, Lothian
  Crichton Castle, Midlothian
  Dalhousie Castle, Midlothian
  Dalkeith Palace, Midlothian
  Dunbar Castle, Lothian
  Fa'side Castle, East Lothian
  Fenton Tower, Lothian
  Hailes Castle, Lothian
  Kellie Castle, Fife
  Liberton Tower, Lothian
  Newark Castle, Fife
  Newbattle Abbey, Midlothian
  Pittarthie Castle, Fife
  Ravenscraig Castle, Fife
  Scotstarvit Tower, Fife
  Tantallon Castle, East Lothian

Tantallon Castle
Dirleton Castle. The south tower, dating from the 13th Century.

Photograph by M J Richardson. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

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