Hermitage Castle: A Hauntingly Beautiful Ruin in the Scottish Borders

Hermitage Castle.

Hermitage Castle is an epic place to visit despite all the scary rumours floating around about intrigues, tortures, murders in this oppressive place. The most haunted countryside castle, the most seductive Scottish destination…though most will hear no evil.

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Hermitage Castle is a semi-ruined castle located in the border region of Scotland.

It is known for its dark history and eerie appearance, making it one of the most sinister and atmospheric castles in Scotland.

The castle has a reputation for torture, treason, and romantic affairs, which has inspired local legends. The castle was originally built by Lord de Soules in the 1240s and was later owned by the powerful Douglas family.

It has been the site of many battles and sieges throughout its history. The castle’s strategic location in Liddesdale made it an important stronghold for controlling the surrounding area.

Hermitage Castle
Hermitage Castle

Today, Hermitage Castle is under the care of Historic Scotland and is open to visitors. Its partially restored ruins offer a glimpse into its turbulent past and the legends that surround it.

Visitors can explore the castle’s eerie chambers and learn about its history of torture, treason, and romance

History of Hermitage Castle

Hermitage Castle is an impressive fortress located in the Scottish Borders, near the town of Newcastleton. The castle has a long and fascinating history, dating back to the 13th century. In this section, we will explore the history of Hermitage Castle, from its construction to its use as a stronghold during the Border Wars.

The castle was built in a typical Norman Motte and Bailey pattern by one Nicholas de Soulis around 1240.

It stayed in his family until approximately 1320 when his descendant, William de Soulis, forfeited it because of suspected witchcraft and the attempted regicide of King Robert I of Scotland.

The castle then passed through several hands until it was acquired by English lord Sir Hugh de Dacre in 1341.

Sir Hugh de Dacre began the present castle around 1360, and it was transformed beyond recognition by his successor, William, 1st Earl of Douglas, one of Scotland’s most powerful noblemen.

Hermitage was adapted in the 1500s to respond to the threat posed by gunpowder artillery. The castle’s fortress-like appearance was the result of further strengthening by the next owner, William Douglas.

During the Border Wars, Hermitage Castle played a crucial role in controlling the Scottish Middle March in border country.

It was targeted for 400 years for its role in controlling the area. The castle changed hands several times between the Scottish and their neighbors to the south, England.

The castle was also the site of many brutal battles and sieges. Today, the castle is a popular tourist attraction, and visitors can explore its eerie ruins and learn about its fascinating history

Famous Inhabitants

William De Soulis

William de Soulis inherited Hermitage Castle in 1318. He was accused of abducting children and using their blood in dark magical practices.

It was rumored that he could not be harmed by steel nor bound by rope. However, he was eventually captured and imprisoned in Dumbarton Castle, where he died in 1320

Hermitage Castle.
Hermitage Castle.

Alexander Ramsay

Alexander Ramsay was a Scottish nobleman who served as the keeper of Hermitage Castle in the 15th century.

He was known for his loyalty to King James II of Scotland and his successful defense of the castle against English attacks. Ramsay was eventually captured by the English and executed in 1438

Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots, visited Hermitage Castle in 1566 while on a hunting trip with her third husband, the Earl of Bothwell.

The castle was owned by the Earl of Bothwell at the time. Mary was pregnant with her son, James VI of Scotland, and was said to have been impressed by the castle’s imposing appearance.

However, her visit was cut short when she received news of a rebellion against her rule and was forced to return to Edinburgh.

Legends and Myths

Hermitage Curse

Hermitage Castle is known for its dark history and gruesome tales of torture and death. One of the most famous legends associated with the castle is the Hermitage Curse. According to the legend, the curse was placed on the castle by a young woman named Mary Scott. Mary was imprisoned in the castle by the lord of the castle, William Douglas. She was accused of being a witch and was tortured until she died. Before she died, Mary cursed the castle and all who lived in it, saying that it would be destroyed and that the Douglas family would be wiped out within nine generations.

The curse seems to have come true, as the castle fell into ruin and the Douglas family suffered many tragedies over the years.

The last of the Douglas line to own the castle was the 9th Earl of Douglas, who died in 1761.

Some say that the curse is still in effect and that the castle is haunted by the spirits of those who suffered there

Ghost Stories

Hermitage Castle is also known for its ghost stories. Visitors to the castle have reported seeing apparitions, hearing strange noises, and feeling a sense of unease.

One of the most famous ghosts associated with the castle is that of Mary, the young woman who cursed the castle. Some say that her ghost still haunts the castle, seeking revenge on those who wronged her.

Ruins of a chapel
Ruins of a chapel -Hermitage Castle

Whether or not you believe in ghosts and curses, there is no denying that Hermitage Castle has a dark and fascinating history.

It is a place that has inspired legends and myths for centuries, and it continues to capture the imagination of visitors today.

Hermitage Castle Today

Hermitage Castle is a fascinating historical site located in the Scottish Borders region.

Today, visitors can explore the semi-ruined castle and learn about its rich history.

Here’s what you can expect when you visit Hermitage Castle today

Opening Hours and Admission

Hermitage Castle is open to visitors from April to September. Admission prices are reasonable. Visitors can explore the castle at their own pace, with information boards providing context and history throughout the site

The Castle Grounds

The castle is located in a beautiful rural location in Liddesdale, surrounded by rolling hills and stunning scenery.

The castle itself is partially restored, with many of the original features still visible. Visitors can enter the castle and explore its various rooms and chambers, including the Great Hall, the dungeon, and the kitchen.

Hermitage Castle information board
Hermitage Castle information board

If you’re planning to visit Hermitage Castle, here’s what you need to know:

Opening Times and Prices

1 April to 30 September:

Hermitage Castle is open daily from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, with the last entry at 5 pm. The admission price for adults is £6.00, while children (aged 5-15) and concessions pay £4.80. Children under 5 can enter for free



Getting There

Hermitage Castle is located in Roxburghshire, in the Scottish Borders region. The nearest town is Newcastleton, which is about 5 miles away.

If you’re driving, there is limited visitor parking available at the castle. The National Grid reference for the castle is NY 498 961.

Tips for Visitors

Wear comfortable shoes, as the castle grounds can be uneven and muddy in places.

Take your time exploring the castle and reading the information boards, as there is a lot of history to absorb

Overall, a visit to Hermitage Castle is a must for anyone interested in Scottish history and architecture. With its eerie atmosphere and fascinating history, it’s sure to be a highlight of your trip to

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Scotland Itinerary planning

My name is Kate and I created Scotland Itinerary Planning to give you those life-changing experiences right in the beautiful country I call home.

I’m proud to live in Edinburgh, Scotland, one of the world’s most beautiful capital cities. Living in Edinburgh has provided me a base to explore extensively around this magical little country.

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