Saturday, 11 January 2014

Barnbougle Castle

Barnbougle Castle stands on the shore of the Firth of Forth in the policies of Dalmeny House near South Queensferry. The original castle which dated from the 13th century was built by the Mowbray family who in 1615 sold it to the Hamilton earls of Haddington. The Hamiltons later sold it to the Primrose family in 1662. Barnbougle Castle became the seat of the Primrose earls of Rosebery until Dalmeny House was completed in 1817. By then Barnbougle had fallen into a serious state of dilapidation and disrepair. One story is told that on a particular  evening during supper, a large wave crashed in through the dining room windows. Presumably that was the final straw. After the family had moved out the building was used to store explosives. An accidental explosion left the castle in ruins.

The ruins were rebuilt  around 1880 by Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery. He was foreign secretary in 1886 and again from 1892-94 and prime minister from 1894-95. Lord Rosebery was a supporter of Scottish Home Rule. The prime minister used Barnbougle Castle to house his private library and it was here that he used to write and practice delivering his speeches, in a specially constructed gallery.