Craigcrook Castle

Craigcrook Castle
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Craigcrook Castle

The B-listed Craigcrook Castle lies in the shadow of Corstorphine Hill, 3 miles (5 km) west northwest of the centre of Edinburgh and has important literary connections. The castle is a much-altered Z-plan tower house, begun c.1542 by William Adamson, an Edinburgh merchant who was killed at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. It originally comprised four storeys, with a round tower on the SW corner and a square tower to the NE. The ground floor was vaulted, with a hall above. It was extended to the E in 1626 and became the home of Sir John Hall, who served as Lord Provost of Edinburgh in 1689. Later it was the abode of John Strachan, who left his property for charitable purposes on his death in 1719. By this time, Craigcrook represented a fine country house, very conveniently located for the city. It was occupied by publisher Archibald Constable (1775 - 1827) and then, from 1815, by lawyer and literary critic Lord Francis Jeffrey (1773 - 1850). Jeffrey added a drawing room wing to the N soon after he took on the tenancy and, in 1835, commissioned architect William Playfair (1789 - 1857) to rebuild the E extension and remodel the main block. The author Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) was a regular visitor, having close connections with both Constable and Jeffrey. A further addition to the E to house a billiard room was added c.1891 for Robert Croall and yet another extension was added in the garden in 1968 when the property became the base for an architectural practice. Between 1986 and 2004, Craigcrook was the Scottish headquarters of multi-national fish-farming company Marine Harvest Ltd. and it was subject to an interior restoration in 1989 by Benjamin Tindall architects.

The castle today is somewhat of a jumble of styles, both inside and out, but it remains a fine property with a history which records the development of Edinburgh. The ghost of Lord Jeffrey is said still to haunt the castle.

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