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Preserving the Past for the Future

Carberry Tower (Lothian) Past & Present


Carberry Tower

Carberry Tower c 1900. Altered wing to the right. Note sloped parapet pieced for gun loop

Carberry is situated some 3 miles from the seaside town of Musselburgh. It dates from many periods but the nucleus is a massively strong tower of the early 16th c with a late 16th c extension. It is vaulted with walls 7 feet thick and rises to battlemented parapet corbelled out on charming winged cherubs.

Between 1760 and 2008 there were a series of improvements which has resulted in the castle giving little impression of age. In 1961 it was bequeathed to the Church of Scotland which used the tower as a conference centre. In 2011 it was turned into a hotel and was the venue of the SCA Christmas Dinner in 2013.

Carberry Tower 2012

Carberry Tower 2012. Now a hotel. SCA member  Annick McGarrigle in foreground

The Battle of Carberry 1567

Carberry is famous in Scottish history as the site of the Battle of Carberry which terminated the reign of Mary Queen of Scots. The following is taken from the information board in the castle grounds:

Battle of Carberry

Battle of Carberry 1567 - Queen Mary surrenders and is led away on horseback

Mary and Bothwell mustered an army of 2,000-3,000 men on this hilltop to fight The Lords of the Congregation. Their armies were evenly matched and neither would risk an engagement. Eventually a single combat was arranged between Bothwell and Lord Lindsay. At the last moment Mary forbade it and negotiated her own surrender while Bothwell escaped to his castle at Dunbar. Mary was taken prisoner and taken to Loch Leven Castle where she was forced to abdicate.


Date posted: 26 May 2014Last updated: 08 Dec 2014

(1) Related article: lothians 1999

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