Off the Beaten Path: Redhouse Castle

Hello Friends.  Guess what?  It’s almost Friday!

Today I would like to take you to another ‘off-the-beaten-path’ place.  You probably know by now that those spots are my favorite.  There is something fun about seeing things that the typical tourist doesn’t know about.  Mr. C and I discovered this one completely by accident.  Today I’m going to take you to see Redhouse Castle.

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Redhouse is a 16th century castle ruin located about a mile from Longniddry in East Lothian, Scotland.  Mr. C and I were on our way to Tantallon Castle that day and as we whizzed by on the B1377, I remember shouting, “Wait!  Go back!  I think we just passed a castle!”  We turned the car around and sure enough, it was.  We were delighted to find that although on private property, the ruin sits adjacent to a small garden center with a lovely little tearoom.  We made a note to stop back by on our way home later that day.

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Despite sitting abandoned since just after the Jacobite uprising in 1745, Redhouse Castle remains remarkably well-preserved. The four-story, red sandstone tower house is missing its roof but the shell is still very much in tact, giving the visitor a sense of what it must have been like in its day.  The castle, which has been extended and altered from its original form, sits on a rectangular courtyard which once housed a garden within its walls.

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It is quite likely that during medieval times, Redhouse served as a hospital.  The property belonged to the Douglas family, however, the Laing family acquired it in 1607 – John Laing was the Keeper of the Royal Signet.

From the Laings, the castle eventually passed through marriage to the Hamilton family. But because of George Hamilton’s involvement in the Jacobite uprising of 1745, the property was forfeited and Hamilton – the last of his family – was executed for his part in the rebellion.   Redhouse fell into ruin, despite being purchased by Lord Elibank and then going to the Earl of Wemyss.

Today Redhouse remains privately owned which means it is not maintained by Historic Environment Scotland.  However, there is nothing prohibiting you from taking a peek at this fascinating piece of history.  (*Just be sure you understand that this is at your own risk.)

When you stop to see Redhouse, be sure to see the pretty things growing in the greenhouse and have a nice cup of tea at the tearoom.

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Redhouse Castle and the nursery and tearoom were a terrific discovery.  So glad we found ourselves on the B1377 that day!

Cheers,

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St. Andrews Kirk

Hope you are having a great weekend, Friends.  If you are someone who celebrates the Risen Savior, Happy Easter!

Is the calendar really turning a page today?  It feels like we just celebrated the new year and here it is already four months in.  Not that I’m complaining, mind you.  I adore the month of April.  The breeze blows softer, the grass turns greener, the sun shines warmer.  With every new leaf that springs forth on the trees and every tender shoot that arises from the ground, I am reminded that all things are being made new once again.  Kind of an appropriate allegory for today, I think.

With today being Easter Sunday, I thought it would be relevant to journey with you to the ruins of a place in Gullane, Scotland that no doubt saw many an Easter Sunday celebration.

That place is St. Andrews.  Pretty neat, isn’t it?

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Gullane, Scotland

Located about forty minutes to the northeast of Edinburgh, St. Andrews is an incredible ruin of a kirk (church) that was first built sometime around 1170 by the de Vaux Family (also affiliated with Dirleton Castle).  Built with Norman features, this remarkable twelfth century building served as the local parish church for over four-hundred years. In 1612, due to constant sand blowing in from nearby fields, the kirk was abandoned and parishioners relocated to nearby Dirleton.

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The second most important family of landowners in the parish following the de Vauxs were the Congaltons, who modified the existing church structure by adding a chapel.

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Following its disuse as a parish church in 1612, St. Andrews continued to serve as a burial place for local families.

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The Yule family maintains a section of the Kirk as a memorial aisle to this day.

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It is a peculiar and awesome thing to be able to experience the presence of such a place firsthand.  While you likely won’t find St. Andrews listed as a top tourist attraction in your guidebooks, it is in no way any less awe-inspiring than the ones that are.  In fact, I think it’s often in these off-the-beaten-path places – the quiet, unassuming ones that don’t have a giant tourist spotlight shining upon them – that you tend to find the most meaningful and soul-stirring connections to the past.

St. Andrews in Gullane, Scotland.

Go.

Cheers and Happy Easter, my Friends.

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