This small village is located 22 miles (35 km) south of Edinburgh, in the old county of Berwickshire on the Leader Water. A Royal Burgh (1502), Lauder was the site of the 1482 hanging of six favourites of James III by Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus ('Bell-the-Cat'). Its church (1673) is shaped like a Greek cross and was built by Sir William Bruce for the Duke of Lauderdale. The 18th-century Town Hall included the prison until 1843.
Northeast of Lauder stands the red sandstone Thirlestane Castle (c.1590), seat of the Earls of Lauderdale and superbly decorated with a large art collection.