Dalhousie Castle

Midlothian, Scotland

City/Town/Village: Newbattle
District: Midlothian
County: Midlothian
Latitude/Longitude: 55.8608, -3.08244
Postcode: EH19 3JB
(postcode is for sat-nav purposes only, and may not represent the actual address of the castle)

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Dalhousie Castle was originally an early 13th century stone fortress, founded by the Ramsay family. Standing on the west bank of the River South Esk, the only remains of this castle are its enormously thick foundation walls and vaults. In the mid 15th century, a four storey keep and courtyard castle, with a large flanking drum tower on the north-east angle of a high curtain wall, was built on the site. In the early 17th century, a stair-tower was added to the keeps re-entrant angle, to make a L-plan and additions of 1825 have now completely cover the courtyard. Originally encased by a deep dry ditch, machicolations and the raising mechanism of the drawbridge can still be seen above the main entrance. The castle was successfully defended against King Henry IV in 1400 but was occupied by Cromwell in 1648.

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

Circa 1450. L-plan keep and curtain wall, incorporated with new buildings circa 1633, alterations by John Douglas and George Paterson in 18th century, additions and castellations by William Burn, 1825. Various storeys, basement. Tooled, coursed pink sandstone with droved dressings. Crenellated parapets; angle turrets.

W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: asymmetrical; entrance bay advanced to centre of former curtain wall, round-arched doorway with recessed panelled and glazed timber door, 2 tall vertical openings above formerly for beams of drawbridge, Ramsay family crest on tooled panel between openings; single bay link to 2-storey drum tower flanking to left with round-arched irregularly placed windows and watchtower; 3-storey, 6-bay curtain wall to right of entrance bay with angle turrets through 1st and 2nd floors, regular fenestration added in 1633, hoodmoulds to centre 4 bays at ground and 1st floors, tooled pediments to windows to left of 1st floor reading "WED" (William Earl of Dalhousie) and "MCD" (Margaret Countess of Dalhousie); keep predominantly obscured by additions to curtain wall.

S ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 4-storey with vaulted cellars below; 4-bay; coped battered wall advanced at basement; bay to left advanced with Y-traceried window to ground floor, 5-light window to 1st floor and regular fenestration to 2nd and 3rd floors; canted 2-storey bay to re-entrant angle to right, window to right return; single storey block advanced to ground floor with square-plan block to right angle; regular fenestration recessed 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors.

E ELEVATION: near-symmetrical; 3-storey, 3-bay block to centre with boarded timber door to basement and irregular fenestration to remainder, angle turrets through 1st and 2nd floors; 4-storey 15th century keep predominantly obscured, bay advanced to centre with bipartite round-arched window with hoodmould to 4th floor, windows to left and right returns and flanking bay to right; single storey block flanking to left with regular fenestration; 2-storey block flanking to right, round-arched window to ground floor with 2 corbel stones below; narrow round-arched window above surmounted by tooled panel bearing Ramsay crest; single storey block to outer right with doorway to left flanked by 3 windows to right.

N ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 6-bay; single storey wall advanced to outer left enclosing small courtyard, 2 2-leaf segmentally-arched boarded timber doors; 2-storey block behind. Single storey and basement block to right with regular fenestration; 2-storey block slightly recessed behind with 3-storey tower to left, 3-slight window to 1st and 2nd floors, 2-light window to flanking bays to right; 4-storey 15th century keep recessed behind, irregular fenestration; drum tower to outer right (see above).

Variety of timber-framed windows. Piended 18th century grey slate roof with lead ridges. Variety of gablehead, wallhead and ridge stacks. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: much altered. Barrel vaulted cellars to keep. Gothick entrance hall by William Burn with imperial staircase leading to mezzanine floor, fan-vaulted plaster ceiling with 2 circular inset lanterns; reception rooms to south including dining room with decorative timber ceiling, drawing room with Jacobean plaster ceiling and library with Gothick bookcases and elaborate rococo ceiling; simple barrel vaulted chapel (originally an armoury). Redecorated by Morison and Co in 1875; refitted in 1972 by Mottram, Patrick, Whitehorn, Dalgleish & Partners.

Information from British Listed Buildings

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