Traquair House **
Region: Lothian & Scottish Borders
Traquair House (Scotland's oldest inhabited house) is one of those 'places' you really should see. There are interesting connections with the wars of Independence, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite cause.
It is not know when the foundations of the house were laid but a substantial structure must have existed by 1107 when Alexander 1 of Scotland signed a royal charter at Traquair. At this time the castle was used as a hunting lodge for royalty and also as a base where they could administer justice, issue laws and hold courts.
After the death of Alexander III in 1286 Traquair became one of the many fortified towers or peles that were built along the banks of the Tweed. When the alarm was raised they could communicate to each other by lighting a beacon at the top of the tower and alert the neighbours of an English invasion. Traquair was briefly occupied by English troops but returned to the Crown with the accession of Robert the Bruce in 1306.
The fifth Earl of Traquair, a fierce Jacobite installed the Bear Gates at the top of the avenue in 1738. However, they were only in use for six years, when according to legend, they were closed following a visit of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie). The Earl of Traquair vowed they would never be opened again until a Stuart king was crowned in London.
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