Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Removed


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Date Removed:
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 38000 61140
338000, 661140

Removal Reason

Dual Designation


Late 14th century tower house; 2 15th century wings; circa 1580 N range. Quadrangular castle around central courtyard sited on sloping ground Coursed sandstone ashlar, coursed rubble, polished margins. Splayed basement course, machicolated parapet to most.

SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: central door: semicircular head, quirked edge-roll; Renaissance cornice; cherub's heads to ends and centre; architraved window above to 2 storeys. Window to 1st floor left. Corbelled stair turret in re-entrant angle of square stair tower to left; parapet walk to top, corbelled in 3 tiers on 3 members. TOWER HOUSE: rectangular-plan, projecting to right of main door. Small square window to basement right; large window to 1st floor left, irregular arrow slit fenestration to all floors right; blind wall to left return; top floor and parapet now missing. Adjoining 1580 range to right: ruinous L-shaped return of Bothwell's tower, arrow slit fenestration to ground floor, remains of corbelled hanging spiral stair turret in re-entrant angle.

SW ELEVATION: rectangular-plan 15th century range, 3-storeys, ashlar with splayed basement course. Wide doorway: semi-circular head, archivolt and jams, in-filled 16th century with small rectangular window to centre; slit window to flanks with large window above, 2 rectangular windows to 2nd floor; remains of machicolated parapet surmounting.

NW ELEVATION: post 1450, (inferior stonework) parapet, single corbelled, 3-storeys (2 lower ones vaulted), SW angle turret to courtyard, battlemented; postern accessing NW of courtyard; irregular arrow slit fenestration; large rectangular window to wall head stack, smaller windows flanking; further window to centre top; tower-like structure of 6-storeys to right.

NE ELEVATION: Bothwell's Lodgings reconstructed circa 1585; to right irregular fenestration, 3 arrow slits to sloping basement, 6 large rectangular bays above; heavy cornice of 5 corbel courses broken by segmental headed window above bays 3 and 4; upper courses now missing; circa 1585 tower to left: 3-bay to basement, large window to 1st floor centre, now blind; angle turret to each corner (windows on left turret to each return, corbelled with gun loops on right turret), 2nd floor ruinous and mostly demolished. Courtyard elevation: 7-bay arcade (1-bay return on kitchen wing) on polygonal columns, supporting wall decorated with diamond-faceted squares, rectangular fenestration above.

No glazing to any window openings. Roofless to most, except stone vaulted internal areas.

INTERIOR: TOWER HOUSE (SE): vaulted basement, large moulded fireplace; wide splayed windows, hall vault slightly pointed, newel stair; round arched double door to basement; vaulted "Massie More" prison with small kitchen above; mural stair. KEEP/GATEHOUSE (SW): basement: vaulted disused entrance between cellars; 1st and 2nd storey large halls with rich Gothic detail, straight stair, semi-circular arch and floreate hood; large hooded fireplace with moulded jambs and lintels to E end of Great Hall; Upper Hall: stone cornice, ball and flower enrichment - timber roof now missing. NW ADDITION: living area above basement, with fireplaces and privies; doors to connect with newel stair, kitchens and cellarage. NE WING (Bothwell's Lodgings): rearranged living accommodation; great staircase lights; staircase in scale and platt (the first in Scotland), elaborate Renaissance detail - diamond cut exterior wall, FS -MD (Francis Stewart, wife Margaret Douglas) and anchor (signifying Lord High Admiral of Scotland) on capital sited in 7-bay arcade near well draw (SEE NOTES), panelled stone ceilings; quasi-classical pilasters attached to side newel, chequer pattern on capitals (Italian pattern); wider turnpike stair to SW corner; originally with timber gallery along courtyard front facing SW - corbels and putlog holes, formerly gaily painted Medieval detail, now lost.

Statement of Special Interest

PROPERTY IN CARE. Originally a stronghold of the Crichton family. The gatehouse was added for Sir William Crichton, who was made Chancellor in 1437 and Lord in 1445. He was the man responsible for the Black Dinner in Edinburgh Castle where members of the Black Douglas family were killed in front of the King for alleged treason. It passed in 1483 on forfeiture of William, 3rd Lord of Crichton (who had an affair with James III's sister Margaret, which resulted in a child) to Sir John Ramsay, later Lord Bothwell, who in turn was forfeited in 1488. Gifted to Patrick Hepburn, 1st Earl of Bothwell, it was eventually lost by James, 4th Earl, husband of Queen Mary, by forfeiture in 1567. Conferred in 1581 on Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell, an educated and well-travelled man whose improvements can be seen on the N range. He was fluent in three foreign languages and transformed his castle in extravagant styles he had witnessed abroad. It is thought the diamond facets were based on the Palazzo Dei Diamanti, Casa de Las Picos in Segovia. He was often driven abroad by his rampant ruffianism, and knew Spain and Italy very well. He was also known to dabble in necromancy. It was forfeited in 1594, and thereafter it fell into neglect and changed hands many times. In later centuries the castle was a source of inspiration for Sir Walter Scott who described Bothwell's work which "still rises unimpaired below, the courtyard's graceful portico; above its cornice, row and row, of fair hewn facets, richly show - their pointed diamond form."




J Blaeu, LOTHIAN AND LINLITQVO (1654) Crictoun; John Adair, A MAP OF THE LOTHIANS (1735) Crichton Castle; John Elphinstone A NEW AND CORRECT MAP OF THE LOTHIANS FROM MR ADAIR'S OBSERVATIONS (1744) Crighton Castle; A PLAN OF EDINBURGH AND PLACES ADJACENT (1766) Chrichton; Andrew and Mostyn Armstrong, MAP OF THE THREE LOTHIANS (1773) Chrighton Castle in ruins; Macgibbon and Ross CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE (1887) Vol II; NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND Vol I p58; Hubert Fenwick, SCOTLAND'S HISTORIC BUILDINGS (1974) p60; C McWilliam, LOTHIAN (1978) p143-144; J Thomas, MIDLOTHIAN (1995) p118; Historic Scotland CRICHTON CASTLE (1999).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 29/09/2022 05:32