Tantallon Castle

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Tantallon Castle is situated 31 miles east of Edinburgh, 3 miles east of North Berwick.

Tantallon Castle is open 1st Apr to 30 Sept: 9.30am to 5.30pm with the last entry 5pm. 1 Oct to 31 Mar: 10am to 4pm with the last entry 3.30pm. There is a small entrance fee. Postcode: EH39 5PN.

Castle Map 31 Large Images Website

See also a large Click On Map for the area Top Attractions.

Tantallon Castle was built from the 1300s for William Douglas, with that Clan becoming one of the most powerfull in Scotland, with some married into Royalty, leading to accusations they has desires to become Kings of Scotland.

You can explore the Castle and Dovecot where they kept Doves for eggs and food. The views from the top of the Castle are amazing, along the coast and out to Bass Rock.

Tantallon Castle History

1300s early - Sir James Douglas was a Scottish Knight that helped Robert the Bruce become King of Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence. James Douglas was awarded land in the area of Tantallon for his reward.

1346 - William Douglas, nephew Sir James Douglas, returned from France to claim his inheritance as chief of the Douglas family in the Tantallon area.

1350 - William Douglas was created Earl of Douglas, with the earliest parts of Tantallon Castle built around that time as a show of strength. This line of the family were knows as the Red Douglas.

1369 - Archibald the Grim became head of the Douglas line in southwest Scotland, Lord of Galloway, known as the Black Douglas, with his main Castle being Threave Castle by Castle Douglas.

1397 - George Douglas of Tantallon Castle married Princess Mary Stewart, daughter of King Robert III.

1426 - The Black and Red Douglas families began feuding.

1455 - the Douglas of Tantallon led a Royal force that defeated the Black Douglas at the Battle of Arkinholm.

1482 - the Douglas of Tantallon began feuding against the Royals.

1490 - Angus Douglas joined Henry VII of England in an attempt to overthrow James IV of Scotland.

1491 - Tantallon Castle was besieged by James IV, with guns from Edinburgh used to force Angus to give up the Castle.

1493 - Angus was created Chancellor of Scotland, leading to him regaining Tantallon.

1514 - Archibald Douglas married James IV's widow Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII. Margaret was at that time ruling Scotland for her infant son James V. Archibald kept the young King at Tantallon for a number of years.

1528 - the sixteen-year-old James V escaped, gathered his forces, then laid siege to Tantallon Castle with guns from Dunbar Castle.

1529 - Tantallon Castle was surrendered to the King, with it then being used as a Royal Fortress.

1542 - the death of James V led to Tantallon Castle being returned to Angus.

1542 - Angus was working with Henry VIII to try to negotiate a marriage between the infant Mary, Queen of Scots, and the son of Henry, Prince Edward. Mary was moved to France around that time for her safety.

1544 - Angus was imprisoned at Blackness Castle by Edinburgh for supporting the English. He later changed sides to support the Scottish cause.

1557 - Angus died at Tantallon, leading to the castle being seized by the mother of Mary Queen of Scots, Mary of Guise.

1561 - Mary Queen of Scots returned from France to rule Scotland.

1566 - Mary Queen of Scots visited Tantallon Castle.

1600s - the English Civil War spread into Scotland after many Scots supported the Stuart Kings. This war escalated into wars over Religion between Catholics and Protestants, and different forms of Protestantism.

The Douglas of Tantallon had remained Catholic, leading to a number of attacks by Covenanters and the Parliamentarian forces of Oliver Cromwell.

1651 - only 91 men at Tantallon held out against 2,000 men of Oliver Cromwell's army for 12 days, until they were forced to surrender after cannon partially destroyed the Douglas Tower. After this siege, Tantallon was left in ruins, never to be repaired or inhabited again.

1699 - the ruins of Tantallon Castle were sold to Sir Hew Dalrymple, owner of the Barony of North Berwick, Bass Rock, and Fidra Island.

Dalrymple allowed some of the stone from Tantallon to be taken for other buildings in the area.

1808 - Sir Walter Scott's poem Marmion contains much reference to Tantallon Castle.

1800s late - the Dalrymple's began some restoration work.

1924 - Tantallon Castle was handed over to the Government by Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple. It is now run by Historic Environment Scotland as a tourist attraction.

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Tantallon Castle Photos