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A Brief History of

Lauriston Castle

Setting and site

3 miles from
Edinburgh City Centre
Overlooking the Firth
of Forth
Near Cramond, where
humans have lived
8500 BCE
Cramond Island and the mainland

Is Lauriston Castle a Castle?

Tower houses,
defensible against
Came to be villas
owned by the wealthy
Lauriston not called a
Castle until 19th
Tower of Hallbar, South Lanarkshire

The Early Years

1290 estate first
recorded, in royal
Up to 1540 variety of
owners, notably the
Lawerestouns of
1540 owned by the
Forresters of

Laurencetoun and surroundings, 1654

The Wars of Independence

1298 England
invaded Scotland
1314 Robert the
Bruce won major battle
at Bannockburn
Wars fought for almost
60 years

Robert the Bruce statue at Bannockburn

The Rough Wooing

Henry VIII of England
invaded Scotland
because his son was
prevented from marrying
Mary, Queen of Scots
1544 Original
Lauriston Castle
destroyed by the English
Centre of Edinburgh
burnt down
Mary, Queen of Scots

The Napiers
Lauriston rebuilt in
1593 by Archibald
John Napier, his halfbrother, was a famous
Some people thought
he was a wizard!
John Napier

John Law
His family owned
Lauriston in the 17th
and 18th centuries
A duellist, murderer
and financial genius!
His economic ideas
influenced Adam
John Law

Thomas Allan
Extended Lauriston
Castle in 1823
Chose to keep original
tower house, and build
new structure
surrounding it
Walter Scott said The
additions are in very
good taste, and will
make a comfortable

Lauriston Castle prior to extensions,

sketched by J. M. W. Turner in 1818

The Victorians
Queen Victoria ruled
for 64 years, from
During her reign, the
British Empire
expanded throughout
the world
Britain became famous
for its industry and

Queen Victoria in 1897

The Gardens
Laid out in 1840s by
William Henry
Playfair, the great
Edinburgh architect

Contain a Japanese
Garden, gifted by
Kyoto Prefecture in

Lauriston Castles Japanese Garden

William Reid
The Reids bought
Lauriston Castle in
William Reid owned
the furniture company
Morison & Co.
He and his wife
Margaret transformed
the interior of the Castle
to reflect their taste

William Robert Reid,

owner and renovator of Lauriston Castle

The Servants
The Reids employed
servants to take care of
themselves and the
They were generous
employers, who gave
their servants much
free time, and
comparatively pleasant

The Maids Bedroom at Lauriston Castle

World War One

World War One broke out
in 1914, while the Reids
were living at Lauriston
Lauriston Castles chauffeur
fought and survived
The Reids would have seen
the surrender of the
German fleet in the Firth of
Forth on 21st November

The German fleet after surrender,

Firth of Forth, 21 November 1918
by James Paterson

Margaret Reid
William died in 1919,
and his widow
Margaret became the
owner of the Castle
Upon her death in
1926, the Castle and its
collections were
bequeathed to the
people of Scotland
The Drawing Room at Lauriston Castle

The Collections
The Reids had a great
passion for collecting
beautiful objects
Collections include
fine Italian furniture,
rare Blue John vases
and urns, and Middle
Eastern rugs
A pair of Blue John cups,
showing their beauty and translucence

The Castle since 1926

The castle is
maintained essentially
as it was left in 1926
It is open to the public
for tours, educational
visits, lectures,
workshops and other
events throughout the
Lauriston Castle today

Visiting Lauriston Castle

For further information about
Lauriston Castle and its educational
Contact Lauriston Castle:
0131 3362060
Or contact Margaret Findlay, Public
Programmes Manager:
0131 5293963

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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