Crichton Castle

Midlothian, Scotland

City/Town/Village: Borthwick
District: Midlothian
County: Midlothian
Latitude/Longitude: 55.8395, -2.99155
Postcode: EH37 5XA
(postcode is for sat-nav purposes only, and may not represent the actual address of the castle)

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Crichton Castle is an interesting stone courtyard fortress, built around a 14th century keep.

Crichton Castle is a Listed Building. Here's what the official description says about it:

Late 14th century tower house; 2 15th century wings; circa 1580 N range. Quadrangular castle around central courtyard sited on sloping ground Coursed sandstone ashlar, coursed rubble, polished margins. Splayed basement course, machicolated parapet to most.

SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: central door: semicircular head, quirked edge-roll; Renaissance cornice; cherub's heads to ends and centre; architraved window above to 2 storeys. Window to 1st floor left. Corbelled stair turret in re-entrant angle of square stair tower to left; parapet walk to top, corbelled in 3 tiers on 3 members. TOWER HOUSE: rectangular-plan, projecting to right of main door. Small square window to basement right; large window to 1st floor left, irregular arrow slit fenestration to all floors right; blind wall to left return; top floor and parapet now missing. Adjoining 1580 range to right: ruinous L-shaped return of Bothwell's tower, arrow slit fenestration to ground floor, remains of corbelled hanging spiral stair turret in re-entrant angle.

SW ELEVATION: rectangular-plan 15th century range, 3-storeys, ashlar with splayed basement course. Wide doorway: semi-circular head, archivolt and jams, in-filled 16th century with small rectangular window to centre; slit window to flanks with large window above, 2 rectangular windows to 2nd floor; remains of machicolated parapet surmounting.

NW ELEVATION: post 1450, (inferior stonework) parapet, single corbelled, 3-storeys (2 lower ones vaulted), SW angle turret to courtyard, battlemented; postern accessing NW of courtyard; irregular arrow slit fenestration; large rectangular window to wall head stack, smaller windows flanking; further window to centre top; tower-like structure of 6-storeys to right.

NE ELEVATION: Bothwell's Lodgings reconstructed circa 1585; to right irregular fenestration, 3 arrow slits to sloping basement, 6 large rectangular bays above; heavy cornice of 5 corbel courses broken by segmental headed window above bays 3 and 4; upper courses now missing; circa 1585 tower to left: 3-bay to basement, large window to 1st floor centre, now blind; angle turret to each corner (windows on left turret to each return, corbelled with gun loops on right turret), 2nd floor ruinous and mostly demolished. Courtyard elevation: 7-bay arcade (1-bay return on kitchen wing) on polygonal columns, supporting wall decorated with diamond-faceted squares, rectangular fenestration above.

No glazing to any window openings. Roofless to most, except stone vaulted internal areas.

INTERIOR: TOWER HOUSE (SE): vaulted basement, large moulded fireplace; wide splayed windows, hall vault slightly pointed, newel stair; round arched double door to basement; vaulted "Massie More" prison with small kitchen above; mural stair. KEEP/GATEHOUSE (SW): basement: vaulted disused entrance between cellars; 1st and 2nd storey large halls with rich Gothic detail, straight stair, semi-circular arch and floreate hood; large hooded fireplace with moulded jambs and lintels to E end of Great Hall; Upper Hall: stone cornice, ball and flower enrichment - timber roof now missing. NW ADDITION: living area above basement, with fireplaces and privies; doors to connect with newel stair, kitchens and cellarage. NE WING (Bothwell's Lodgings): rearranged living accommodation; great staircase lights; staircase in scale and platt (the first in Scotland), elaborate Renaissance detail - diamond cut exterior wall, FS -MD (Francis Stewart, wife Margaret Douglas) and anchor (signifying Lord High Admiral of Scotland) on capital sited in 7-bay arcade near well draw (SEE NOTES), panelled stone ceilings; quasi-classical pilasters attached to side newel, chequer pattern on capitals (Italian pattern); wider turnpike stair to SW corner; originally with timber gallery along courtyard front facing SW - corbels and putlog holes, formerly gaily painted Medieval detail, now lost.

Information from British Listed Buildings


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