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Haunted Lothians castle for sale Haunted Lothians castle for sale
25/01/2008
A castle in the Lothians where Mary Queen of Scots spent her honeymoon is up for sale at offers over 3 million.

Borthwick Castle boasts nine bedrooms, a Great Hall and a minstrel's gallery set in grounds of seven and a half acres.

But potential buyers are warned of ghosts that haunt the building, including that of a young servant girl said to wander its spiral staircases.

The 15th century castle in North Middleton, Midlothian, was a family home for centuries but has been used as a wedding venue and hotel for more than 20 years.

According to the sales particulars, it "occupies a commanding position and stands in attractive grounds with a trout stream running through them".

City estate agent George Goldsmith said the A-listed building would be ideal for entertaining, with its 50ft long vaulted-ceiling hall, and dungeons converted into a wine cellar. The two-bedroom Tower Gate lodge is also included in the sale.

Mr Goldsmith said: "It's a very romantic, unique, historic building. I think it would suit someone who has the ultimate dream of owning a castle in Scotland.

"It could do with some gentle modernisation. It's got great potential for being a private home or a hotel."

The castle was built by Sir William de Borthwick in 1430 as a stronghold capable of withstanding English armies.

Mary Queen of Scots stayed at the castle with the sixth Lord Borthwick on many occasions. She and her third husband, the Earl of Bothwell, sought sanctuary there when they learned Scottish nobles planned to capture them in 1567. A thousand men surrounded the castle, but the Queen escaped through a window in the Great Hall dressed as a pageboy.

Oliver Cromwell laid siege to the castle in 1650, leaving cannonball scars that can still be seen.

An Edinburgh priest is said to have carried out an exorcism in its Red Room, which was haunted by a young servant girl who bore the illegitimate son of Lord Borthwick. She and her baby were put to death by the sword.

A family chancellor is also said to haunt the castle. He was burned to death by the Borthwicks after embezzling money.

The castle was used as a safe storage place during the Second World War for Scottish public records, as well as treasures from the National Library and the Royal Museums of Scotland.

It was then modernised by Helen Bailey, who leased it from the Borthwick family.

English aircraft designer Gerry Loadsman bought it in 1984. He and his family renovated the castle and have been running it as a hotel. Several castles have been sold recently in the Lothians. Seton Castle, in East Lothian, became Scotland's most expensive home when it was sold for 5m last April. Illieston Castle near Broxburn and Gogar Castle, near Gogarburn, were put on the market last May.

By Hazel Mollison
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