Lauriston Castle, 2A Cramond Road South, Davidson's Mains, Edinburgh, EH4 6AD
Lauriston Castle is an intact 16th century L-plan tower house with substantial 19th century extensions overlooking the Firth of Forth, near Cramond. The Castle, its contents and its extensive grounds have been in the care of Edinburgh Council since they were bequeathed to the city by its last private owner in 1926.
There has been a castle on the site since at least medieval times but, having been destroyed during the “Rough Wooing” raids by English troops in 1544, the current tower house was rebuilt by the Napier of Merchiston family around 1590. After around a century, the castle passed from the Napiers to the Law family, who held it for around 140 years. In 1823 it came into the hands of banker and mineralogist Thomas Allan, who commissioned noted architect William Burn to extend and remodel the house in Jacobean style.
In 1902, cabinet-maker William Robert Reid purchased the house and installed modern plumbing and electricity. He and his wife Margaret filled the house with fine furniture and objets d’art. With no immediate heirs, they decided to leave Lauriston to Scotland, on condition that their home be preserved as it was gifted. The Council has looked after the house, its contents and grounds since Mrs Reid died in 1926. You can find out more about Lauriston at the Castle’s website, its Wiki page or this short film produced by the Council.
While access inside the house is still currently off-limits during the public health emergency, its fantastic and knowledgeable guides have produced a series of short talks about Lauriston’s history that they would normally share with visitors on a tour. One of these wonderful brief, personal insights into the Castle’s history, its contents and the families who lived there can be viewed below and the rest can be found on the Cockburn Association’s YouTube channel.
For Doors Open Days weekend this year you are warmly invited to join the team from Edinburgh Museums virtually to learn all about this enchanting castle by the sea and step back to the Edwardian era and hear more about its last private owners, pillars of Edinburgh’s Edwardian society, the Reid family.
On Saturday 25th September from 2pm, on the Lauriston Castle Facebook page you can watch three short films specially made for Doors Open Days by Erik, one of our team, capturing footage of behind the scenes at the Castle.
On Sunday 26th September at 5pm, again on our Facebook Page, you are invited to join Rebecca Hale on a tour of Lauriston, talking first about the Castle’s notable owners over the years and then highlighting some favourite aspects the Castle’s history.