Dalhousie Castle
Dalhousie Castle
EH19 3JB
Edinburgh City
Telephone: 01875 820 153
Www: www.dalhousiecastle.co.uk
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The Ramsays of Dalhousie have reason to be proud of their heritage and their long links with Scottish history. They held possession of Dalhousie longer than any other family has retained possession of a castle in Scotland. The Castle, which is situated in the parish of Cockpen, eight miles south of Edinburgh, dates from the 13th century, although only the enormously thick walls at the foundation level and the vaults remain of the original building. The main parts of the present structure were built about 1450 from red stone quarried from the opposite bank of the South Esk River on which the Castle stands. In the succeeding centuries there have been various additions and modifications, but the essential form of the Castle which had an L-shaped keep surrounded by an outer curtain wall can still be clearly discerned. The Drum Tower, which dates from the 15th century, has a well at ground level, which supplied the Castle and still yields potable water. The 1st Earl of Dalhousie first built up the area between the keep and the curtain wall in the early 17th century. The Castle closely resembles nearby Dirleton Castle, which is now in ruins. Originally access to the castle was obtained by crossing a drawbridge over a deep dry moat. this moat was re-excavated during the castle’s conversion into a hotel. The “rainures” (recesses for the counterbalance beams) of the original drawbridge raising mechanism can still be seen above the main door, as can the machicolations used by the defenders to assail those beneath. Another interesting feature is the mural staircase from the banqueting hall to the vaults. There is also a spiral stair leading from what was the first floor of the keep, down to the top of the bottle dungeon which measures 10’10” by 10’3”, it has a latrine and a ventilation shaft but no window. Prisoners were lowered into it by rope, the score marks of the ropes can still be seen in the stonework, once in there was no escape through the 11” thick walls.