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Craigmillar Castle Edinburgh



Craigmillar Castle is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Scotland. It has a central tower house which is surrounded by a courtyard wall and has a chapel and a do’cot. Craigmillar Castle was built in the late 14th century by the Preston family, Land owners of Craigmillar.  

Craigmillar Castle is best known for its association with Mary Queen of Scots. She used the castle as a place to rest after illness and after the birth of her son the future James I of England. Mary arrived at Craigmillar Castle on the 20th November 1566 and left on 7 December 1566. In November Bothwell met with nobles at Craigmillar Castle to discuss Lord Darnley. They came up with two options, divorce or assassination. They then consulted with Mary, she ruled out divorce, because it would make her son illegitimate. As for 'other means', she said that she wanted 'nothing against her honour'. The nobles saw this as her agreement to kill her husband and on leaving the nobles signed an agreement to murder Darnley.

A pact known as the "Craigmillar Bond" was made, to be rid of her husband Lord Darnley.

Craigmillar Castle Edinburgh
Craigmillar Castle Edinburgh

The garden pond shaped as the initial "P" can still be seen. It was Simon Prestons’ town House in Edinburgh that Mary Queen of Scots spent her last night before she was taken to Leven then on to England to spend the next 19 years in imprisonment before her execution. It was Elizabeth I the cousin of Mary Queen of Scots that had her executed. 

Craigmillar Castle internal door and steps Edinburgh
Craigmillar Castle internal buildings Edinburgh

Prestonfield  Edinburgh

The area of Craigmillar in the east was purchased and added to the Barony of Priestfield owned by Sir James Dick. The first house was named Priestfield, as the monks had previously been the landowners. Priestfield House was burned to the ground in 1680 by anti-Catholic student protesters (the Dick's being Catholic) and as a consequence the Edinburgh council closed the University of Edinburgh until they could see improvement in the student’s behaviour. The reason for the targeting of Priestfield and Sir James Dick was he held the position of Provost of the University of Edinburgh.


The Dick family lived in Prestonfield House for over 250 years.

A new house was built by Sir William Bruce, king’s architect. At that time the house was renamed Prestonfield House. 

In the years to follow Prestonfield house greeted many famous guests that included Bonnie Prince Charlie, Samuel Jonson and James Boswell. Benjamín Franklin was entertained by the president of the Royal College of Physicians, Sir Alexander Dick, at his home, Prestonfield in 1759.

1687 Prestonfield House Lintel Edinburgh

The House still stands with many renovations and modernisation over the centuries it still stands, now a hotel and has been a popular venue for the celebrities for the last 50 years with guest such as Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Sean Connery, Elton John, Catherine Zeta Jones, Oliver Reed and many more.

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