Hermitage Castle ***
Region: Lothian & Scottish Borders
One of the greatest fortresses guarding the Scottish Middle March and "the bloodiest valley in Britain".
Hermitage Castle, a very impressive and distinctly oppressive castle, consists of a 13th century courtyard and a large 14th century keep of four stories, around which a huge castle was eventually built. The property on which Hermitage is built once belonged to the D'Acres, but passed to the deSoulis family. One of that family was a man of ill repute who was accused of dabbling in witchcraft. Many children disappeared during the time he lived in the castle, and the town eventually rebelled, wrapping deSoulis in lead and boiling him to death in a cauldron (no proof!)
The family was forfeited in 1320. The castle passed then to the Grahams and afterwards to the Douglas’s. William Douglas imprisoned Alexander Ramsey of Dalhousie here and starved him to death in the prison pit. Predictably, Douglas was murdered by his godson in 1353. Archibald, 5th Earl of Douglas, exchanged Hermitage with Bothwell.
Hermitage Castle also played a role in the life of Mary, Queen of Scots.
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