The history of the current Thirlestane Castle dates back to at least the 13th 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, remodeled in the 1670s and then extended in the 1840s.
Throughout its long history, Thirlestane has belonged to the Maitland family, one of the most prominent families in Scotland. The Maitlands came to Britain from France with William the Conqueror in 1066 and settled in Northumberland. In around 1250, Sir Richard Maitland married Avicia, the daughter and heiress of Thomas du Thirlestane. It was this marriage that bought the lands of Thirlestane into the ownership of the Maitland family. The ruined remains of the original Thirlestane Castle can be seen two miles south east of today’s castle, just off the A697.
Through military service and their contribution to law and the arts, the Maitlands gained increasing influence and power. In 1590, John Maitland became Lord Chancellor to King James VI. His elder brother, Sir William Maitland, had previously served as secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots.
For more information on Thirlestane Castle and the Maitland family, see links below: