Ancient Monuments

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Crichton Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Midlothian East, Midlothian

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Latitude: 55.8395 / 55°50'22"N

Longitude: -2.991 / 2°59'27"W

OS Eastings: 338033

OS Northings: 661136

OS Grid: NT380611

Mapcode National: GBR 70KX.7K

Mapcode Global: WH7VF.0HZ8

Entry Name: Crichton Castle

Scheduled Date: 1 January 1900

Last Amended: 19 November 2015

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13585

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Crichton/Crichton

County: Midlothian

Electoral Ward: Midlothian East

Traditional County: Midlothian


The monument is a medieval courtyard castle, begun around AD 1400 and developed in phases during the 15th and 16th centuries. The castle occupies a terrace part way down a W-facing slope, overlooking the valley of a small burn that flows from S to N. It stands 175m above sea level, about 500m S of Crichton Kirk.

The earliest part is a tower at the centre of the E Range, which was originally a tower-house built around AD 1400. A 15th-century hall in the S range was built by William Crichton, Chancellor of Scotland under James II. The W range incorporates kitchens and chambers of the 15th and 16th centuries, while the N range is notable for a remarkable lodging built in the 1580s by the 5th Earl of Bothwell, who transformed the castle into a Renaissance palace. A two-storey building interpreted as a stable block lies to the S of the castle, where other low building remains are visible. A rampart lies downslope to the W of the castle and a variety of earthworks are visible on the rising ground to the E. The stone for the castle was won from quarries sited to the ESE and SSE of the main building.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan, to include the remains of the castle and an area around it in which evidence for the castle's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. On the E side, the scheduling extends up to but excludes a post-and-wire fence. The scheduling also excludes the above-ground elements of other post-and-wire fences and gates that lie within the scheduled area. The scheduling excludes the above-ground elements of all modern structures, such as hand rails, barriers, window grills, signage, displays, the ticket office, cupboards and sheds, and electrical apparatus. The monument was first scheduled in 1921. The present amendment provides scheduling documents to modern standards.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument has considerable potential to add significantly to understanding of late medieval and post-medieval domestic fortified dwellings, their architecture, construction, maintenance, development and abandonment. The upstanding buildings retain their structural and decorative characteristics to a marked degree, incorporating many fine and significant architectural features. There is also very high potential for the survival of important buried archaeological remains, including structures within and around the castle and artefacts and palaeoenvironmental evidence that can enhance our understanding of how such buildings functioned, as well as adding to knowledge of the daily domestic life of the inhabitants and their society and economy. The monument would have been a highly prominent part of the contemporary landscape during its occupation and remains a significant feature of the modern landscape. Because of the prominence of its owners, there is rich potential for documentary records to add to understanding of the castle and its functions. Our understanding of the form, function and character of castles in E Scotland would be diminished if this monument was to be lost or damaged. Ruined castles have a significant place in the national consciousness and, as a property in the care of Scottish Ministers, Crichton is visited and valued by large numbers of people.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Further Information

RCAHMS records the monument as NT36SE 7. The Midlothian Historic Environment Record reference is MEL8502.


Lewis, J, 1997 'Excavations at Crichton Castle, Midlothian', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 127, 697-705.

MacGibbon, D and Ross, T 1887-92 The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, vol 1, 208-221.

RCAHMS, 1929, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Tenth Report with Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the Counties of Midlothian and West Lothian. Edinburgh. 47-51, no 56.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Crichton Castle
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Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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