Maitlands & History

The history of Thirlestane dates back to at least the 14th century, when a large Border fort was built on the site to defend the approach to Edinburgh from the south.

The central part of the present castle was completed in 1590, remodelled in the 1670s, and then again in the 1840s.

Throughout its long history, Thirlestane belonged to the Lauderdale family, one of the most able and famous in Scotland. The Maitlands came to Britain from France with William the Conqueror in 1066, and settled in Northumberland. In about 1250, Sir Richard Maitland married Avicia, the daughter and sole heiress of Thomas du Thirlestane. It was this marriage that brought the lands of Thirlestane and others into the ownership of the Maitland family. The ruined remains of one of the family homes at that time can still be seen, two miles from the castle off the A697

Through military service and their contributions to law and the arts, the Maitlands gained increasing influence and power. In 1590, John Maitland became Lord Chancellor of Scotland. His son was created 1st Earl of Lauderdale and his brother, William Maitland, was Secretary to Mary Queen of Scots.

Today, the castle is still home to the Maitland family.  For further information about the Maitlands and Castle History, download the pdf below.

Download History PDF