Lauriston Castle

Lauriston Castle is a 16th century tower house with 19th century extensions overlooking the Firth of Forth, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

History

The original tower house was built around 1590 by Sir Archibald Napier of Merchiston, the father of John Napier (1550–1617), the inventor of logarithms, for his younger son, also named Archibald. Later, it was the home of John Law (1671–1729), the economist, Right Hon. Andrew Lord Rutherfurd (1791–1854), and Thomas Macknight Crawfurd of Cartsburn and Lauriston Castle, 8th Baron of Cartsburn from 1871 to 1902. In 1827, Thomas Allan, a banker and mineralogist, commissioned William Burn (1789–1870) to extend the house in the Jacobean style.

William Reid, proprietor of Morison and Co., an Edinburgh cabinetmaking business, acquired Lauriston Castle in 1902, installed modern plumbing and electricity, and he and his wife Margaret filled the house with a collection of fine furniture and artwork. The Reids, being childless, left their home to Scotland on the condition that it should be preserved unchanged. The City of Edinburgh has administered the house since Mrs Reid's death in 1926, which today offers a fascinating glimpse of Edwardian life in a Scottish country house.

At some point during its numerous refurbishments, a stone carving of an astrological horoscope was installed in the outer wall, on the southwest corner. The horoscope was reputedly done by John Napier for his brother. It can be seen in some pictures on the front wall, beneath the left-most stair tower, near the ground.

Design

Lauriston Castle was originally a four-storey, stone L plan tower house, with a circular stair tower, with two storey angle turrets complete with gun loops. A Jacobean range was added in 1827, to convert it to a country manor.

Gardens

The gardens at Lauriston include a notable Japanese garden of one hectare. The garden, built by Takashi Sawano, opened in August 2002.

At the back of the castle there are beautiful views of the Firth of Forth, which are enjoyed by members of the Edinburgh Croquet Club on the three croquet lawns laid out on the castle grounds between 1950 and 1955.

Ghost

Lauriston Castle, like so many other Scottish castles, is reputedly haunted. It is said that the sound of ghostly footsteps can be heard.

Building Activity

  • updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator
  • updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com