By Alex Jones
AN ENCHANTING medieval castle where Mary Queen of Scots spent her last night of freedom is on sale for under £2M – and even comes with its own DUNGEON.
Remarkable photos of Fa’side Castle, which enjoys panoramic views over the Lothians and the Forth Estuary, show the gorgeous fairy tale façade of the 14th Century fortification; a magnificent sitting room with a grandiose inglenook fireplace; and a bespoke study with a wall of book cases.
The epic castle is located in East Lothian, just ten miles from Edinburgh. Reputedly the last place of refuge of Mary Queen of Scots, this is an outstanding example of medieval Scottish domestic architecture. It is currently on the market with Savills for just £1.9m.
The original tower, attached to the 16th century house, dates back to the 14th Century. In more recent times Fa’side has become a beautifully preserved and updated six-bedroom family home, yet its rich history is evidenced in a multitude of historic features.
On June 15, 1567, Mary Queen of Scots awoke early in Fa’side Castle, a sense of foreboding washing over her. It was a feeling she was familiar with, having been queen since she was six days old. Today would be different, however. Later that morning she confronted 26 Scottish peers at the Battle of Carberry Hill who were angered by her marriage to James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell. By dinnertime, in the blazing heat, the monarch had surrendered to her enemies. Having left her crimson cloak and gold and silver headwear within the confines of the castle, she wore only a ‘short shabby robe that scarcely reached below her knee’.
She was sent to Leven Castle and would spend the time in captivity. She eventually fled to England in 1568, where she became a political pawn in the hands of Queen Elizabeth I and was imprisoned for 19 years in various castles in England. Mary was found to be plotting against Elizabeth; letters in code, from her to others, were found and she was deemed guilty of treason. She was taken to Fotheringhay Castle and executed in 1587.
The listed castle was the clan seat of the Fawside family for 600 years before it was sold in 1631. As part of restoration work in the 1980s, a glass walkway was fitted over the castle’s dungeon on ground level, while from the rooftop you can take in panoramic views of the Firth of Forth. A great hall, with its original stone fireplace and painted ceiling, features an original lavatory known as Laird’s Lug. Living spaces include a library, sitting room, kitchen with a range cooker and larder, utility room and six bedrooms. Outside there are two cottages converted from a 17th Century barn and seven acres.
Its defensive windows and bailey wall could be straight out of a period film, although buyers will be pleased to hear of modern comforts inside, including large slipper tubs in the bathrooms.
Fa’side Castle includes a pair of two bedroom cottages converted from a 17th century barn; stables and fine equestrian facilities, a wind turbine and around 7 acres of gardens and paddocks.
Jamie Macnab, Savills Country House Director for Savills said: “Fa’side Castle is one of the most considered examples of how to make an historic building dating from the Middle Ages work as a home fit for contemporary life. The pitch perfect colour scheme and careful approach to modernisation have resulted in a truly outstanding property that is entirely in keeping with its extraordinary heritage. The East Lothian location, just ten miles from Edinburgh city centre, makes it accessible in spite of its secluded feel, and the views over the Firth of Forth and surrounding countryside are quite breath taking.”