Dalhousie is strongly sited above the River South Esk at Bonnyrigg about eight miles from Edinburgh. The castle consists of an impressive 15th-century L-plan tower enclosed by strong outer walls transformed in the 17th century into a Renaissance Palace. In 1825 it underwent a ‘make over’ in the Gothic style only to be badly damaged by fire in 1867. The castle is now an upmarket hotel popular with brides forming the fairytale backdrop to their dream wedding day.
Dalhousie is notable as the last castle in Scotland to have been besieged by an English king in person – Henry IV in 1400. For six months he attacked Sir Alexander Ramsay to no avail, Dalhousie’s walls stood proving more than a match*.
However, Henry was not the last ‘king’ to pay it a visit. Cromwell, a king by any other name, effortlessly took possession of ‘the strong house called Dalhouz’, the garrison having decamped sans weapons and powder in their haste.
* The last English castle to be so besieged by a Scottish king was Norham which fell in 1513 to James IV.
Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle.