Before the 13th century a large fort was built two miles south of castle. It is one of the oldest castles in Scotland and remains home to the Maitland family, which links back to William the Conqueror and King William I of Scotland.
It was built in three phases in 1590, 1670 and 1840. Small turrets and towers were added, which give the castle its distinctive look. The walls, some of which are 13ft deep, show its defensive nature.
John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale, grandson of the original builder, turned it into a palace to reflect his status. He was Secretary of State for Charles II, governing Scotland on the King’s behalf. Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed there in 1745 en-route to England, and his soldiers camped in the parkland.
In 1984 the castle was given to a charitable trust, the family now living in the private north wing.
The visit was greatly enjoyed by members, who explored the grounds, browsed the collections, and benefited from the excellent guides.
The next meeting is on Friday, September 21, in the Jubilee Hall, Rothbury, at 7.30pm. New members and visitors welcome.