Lothians: About 2.5 miles south-west of Tranent, on minor road between east of A6094 at Crookston and A199 at Tranent, just south-west of Falside Hill, at Falside Castle.
Private NT 378710 OS: 66 EH33 2LE
OPEN: Can be viewed from road. Holiday accommodation.
Standing dramatically on a high ridge and visible for miles around, Falside (or Fa'side or Fawside) Castle consists of an L-plan tower house, and incorporates a plain 15th-century tower of four storeys with very thick walls. It was later extended by a six-storey block with turrets, dormer windows and decorated mouldings. Bartizans crown the building, and there are corbiestepped gables.
The entrance to the older part leads into the vaulted basement and to a straight stair, in the thickness of the wall, leading to the first floor. A turnpike
stair, in another corner, climbs to the upper floors.
A house, dating from the 17th century, apparently stood to the south east, but this has gone.
‘Fasy’ is marked on Blaeu’s map of The Lothians, then ‘Falside’ on Adair’s map of East Lothian. The spelling of the name has varied down the years, with Falside, Fawside and now Fa'side.
The property was held by an Alexander de Such, but he was forfeited by Robert the Bruce. The Fawside family were apparently in possession in the 13th and 14th centuries and much later, although it may have passed to the Setons, at least for a time.
The tower was burnt by the English before the Battle of Pinkie in 1547, reputedly suffocating and killing all those inside. In 1631 Falside was sold to an Edinburgh merchant burgess, named
Hamilton, and was probably abandoned towards the end of the 18th century.
Falside was restored from ruin in the 1970s and is occupied.
There are stories of a ‘Green Lady’ haunting the castle, possibly the lady of the house who was killed in the burning of 1547, as well as an unlikely tale of underground passages connecting the building to both Pinkie House and to Elphinstone Tower, and also to Tranent Tower.
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