Entrance to Dirleton Castle

Entrance to Dirleton Castle, Scotland

This evening, the focus of my blog is Dirleton Castle which is situated about 1 hour’s drive S.E. of Edinburgh. This site has appeal from a number of perspectives, viz:

  • Somewhat ‘out on a limb’ in terms of location and usually quite peaceable with low incidence of visiting tour buses.
  • A very substantial ruin which will appeal to a wide range of interests, from the castle connoisseur to adventurous children.
  • Includes a large and intact medieval dovecote, which would have housed a large flock of pigeons- an important food supply.
  • Sits in the centre of Dirleton, which is acknowledged as one of Scotland’s prettiest villages with pub and large village green.
  • Within the grounds of the castle are some very impressive gardens which include the longest herbaceous border in the world.
Dirleton Castle, Dirleton

Dirleton Castle, Dirleton , Scotland

The history of Dirleton Castle can be summarised as follows:

  • Built in three phases by three families starting with the de Vaux family in the 1200s.
  • During the Wars of Independence between England and Scotland in the 14th century, control of the castle passed to and fro between Scots and English.
  • Was slighted by King Robert the Bruce (of Scotland) after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
  • The ruins were subsequently transferred to the Halyburton family in the mid 14th century who re-built and developed the castle over the ensuing century.
  • Control passed to the Ruthven family in 1515 who built a grand renaissance house.
  • The castle’s military function ended in 1651 following a cannon bombardment by Cromwell’s army.
  • In the 19th and 20th centuries the castle has become famous for more peaceable activities in the form of well maintained gardens including the longest herbaceous border in the world.
Interior of Dirleton Castle

Interior of Dirleton Castle, Scotland

Here is the large cellar wherein was stored food and similar products comprising rents from tenants paid in kind. Now used for weddings.

Cellar, Dirleton Castle

Cellar, Dirleton Castle, Scotland

Here is the former Great Hall

Great Hall, Dirleton Castle

Great Hall, Dirleton Castle, Scotland

Here is the Dovecot interior showing the stone built nesting boxes to house a flock of around 2000 pigeons.

Interior of Dovecote, Dirleton Castle

Interior of Dovecote, Dirleton Castle, Scotland

Dovecote, Dirleton Castle

Dovecote, Dirleton Castle, Scotland

Here is a view of the herbaceous border and here is a video clip of same.

Herbaceous Border, Dirleton Castle

Herbaceous Border, Dirleton Castle, Scotland

I am a ‘fan’ of Dirleton Castle and include the site within my tours when possible.

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