The Castles of Scotland by Martin Coventry | Goblinshead | A comprehensive guide to 4,100 castles, towers, historic houses, stately homes and family lands
The Castles of Scotland by Martin Coventry | Goblinshead | A comprehensive guide to 4,100 castles, towers, historic houses, stately homes and family lands
The ‘Bible of Scottish Castles’…now available!
The ‘Bible of Scottish Castles’…now available! 

Hailes Castle

Lothians: About 1.5 miles west and south of East Linton, north of minor road south 1.5 miles from East Linton off A1, on south bank of Tyne, at Hailes Castle.

 

HES   NT 575758   OS: 67   EH41 4PY

 

OPEN: Access at all reasonable times.
Web: www.historicenvironment.scot

Hailes Castle is a picturesque and substantial ruinous old fortress, perched on a rocky crag above the River Tyne near East Linton in East Lothian, long held by the Hepburn family and associated with Mary Queen of Scots. Hailes Castle (© Martin Coventry)

In a lovely location above the River Tyne, Hailes Castle is a scenic ruin. The remains consist of a 14th-century tower, extended by ranges and towers in the 15th and 16th centuries, within a thick 13th-century curtain wall. The castle had a large courtyard, fragments of which remain.

Hailes Castle is a picturesque and substantial ruinous old fortress, perched on a rocky crag above the River Tyne near East Linton in East Lothian, long held by the Hepburn family and associated with Mary Queen of Scots. Hailes Castle (© Martin Coventry)

The tower, of at least three storeys, stood at one corner of the original castle and contains a vaulted pit-prison. The upper part of the tower was later made into a doocot. A 14th-century tower had a vaulted basement with another pit-prison. The 15th-century work consists of a hall (or chapel), and a basement bakehouse, between the two towers. There were other buildings, one upstand having a postern gate, and the remains of a well, but these are very fragmentary.

Hailes Castle is a picturesque and substantial ruinous old fortress, perched on a rocky crag above the River Tyne near East Linton in East Lothian, long held by the Hepburn family and associated with Mary Queen of Scots. Hailes Castle: inner courtyard (© Martin Coventry)
Hailes Castle is a picturesque and substantial ruinous old fortress, perched on a rocky crag above the River Tyne near East Linton in East Lothian, long held by the Hepburn family and associated with Mary Queen of Scots. Hailes Castle (© Martin Coventry)
Hailes Castle is a picturesque and substantial ruinous old fortress, perched on a rocky crag above the River Tyne near East Linton in East Lothian, long held by the Hepburn family and associated with Mary Queen of Scots. Hailes Castle: vault (© Martin Coventry)

The castle is prominently marked on Blaeu’s map of The Lothians as ‘Hales’. ‘Heels’ is marked on Adair’s map of East Lothian.

Hailes Castle is a picturesque and substantial ruinous old fortress, perched on a rocky crag above the River Tyne near East Linton in East Lothian, long held by the Hepburn family and associated with Mary Queen of Scots. Hailes Castle: plan (MacGibbon and Ross)

Hailes was a Hepburn property, having passed from the Cospatrick Earl of Dunbar and March and the de Gourlay family. It was probably Sir Patrick Hepburn – who played a valiant part in the Battle of Otterburn in 1388 by saving the Douglas banner from falling into the hands of the English – who extended the castle. In 1400 the Earl of March and Harry ‘Hotspur’ Percy, wanting revenge on the Hepburns, failed to take the castle, and were themselves surprised and routed. Adam Hepburn of Hailes rebuilt Whitekirk with stone vaults in 1429.

Hailes Castle is a picturesque and substantial ruinous old fortress, perched on a rocky crag above the River Tyne near East Linton in East Lothian, long held by the Hepburn family and associated with Mary Queen of Scots. Hailes Castle (© Martin Coventry)

Archibald Dunbar captured the castle in 1443, and slew all he found within in the walls. Patrick Hepburn became Earl of Bothwell, but was killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. The castle was burnt in 1532, and in 1547 was occupied by Patrick Gray, Lord Gray, for the English. 

Hailes Castle is a picturesque and substantial ruinous old fortress, perched on a rocky crag above the River Tyne near East Linton in East Lothian, long held by the Hepburn family and associated with Mary Queen of Scots. Hailes Castle by Laura Ferguson (© Martin Coventry)

James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, brought Mary, Queen of Scots, here after abducting her in 1567. Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell, had a ratification of 1585 for the lordship and barony of Hailes, with the castle, tower and fortalice thereof, but he fell out of favour with James VI and was accused of treason and forfeited.

Hailes Castle is a picturesque and substantial ruinous old fortress, perched on a rocky crag above the River Tyne near East Linton in East Lothian, long held by the Hepburn family and associated with Mary Queen of Scots. Hailes Castle (© Martin Coventry)

In 1650 the castle was partly dismantled by Cromwell. It passed to the Stewarts, then to the Setons of Barnes, who in 1700 sold the castle to the Dalrymples of Hailes, but was then abandoned for the mansion of Newhailes, near Musselburgh. In 1835 Hailes was being used as a granary. The castle was transferred into state care in 1926 and is owned by HES.

Hailes Castle is a picturesque and substantial ruinous old fortress, perched on a rocky crag above the River Tyne near East Linton in East Lothian, long held by the Hepburn family and associated with Mary Queen of Scots. Hailes Castle (© Martin Coventry)

There are stories of an underground passage, which appears to have led under the river, or even to Traprain Law. And also tales that one of the pit prisons is haunted by the spirit of a man imprisoned and starved to death because he had fallen in love with the laird’s wife. A ‘White Lady’ also reputedly haunts the castle.

Hailes Castle is a picturesque and substantial ruinous old fortress, perched on a rocky crag above the River Tyne near East Linton in East Lothian, long held by the Hepburn family and associated with Mary Queen of Scots. Hailes Castle (MacGibbon and Ross)

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