The House of the Binns dates from the early 17th century, and was the home of Tam Dalyell until his death in January 2017.
Perhaps inhabited since prehistoric times, Binns Hill may have been the site of a Pictish fort. Written records begin in 1335. There was certainly a manor house here by 1478. In 1612 the estate was purchased by a wealthy and well-connected Edinburgh burgess, Thomas Dalyell. Between 1621 and 1630, he rebuilt the original house, and parts of the interior still reflect that period; in particular the north-west portion of the present entrance front, and decoration of the High Hall and King's Room (created in the hope of a visit from Charles I, which never came to be). These rooms still contain examples of some of the earliest cornices and mouldings in Scotland. Thomas Dalyell's more famous son, the Royalist General Sir Tam Dalyell continued the development of the house, adding the first of the towers, and the western range.
Today the house principally reflects its extensions of the mid 18th and early 19th century. In the 1740s, Robert Dalyell added the dining-room and a morning room, whilst around 1810, the architect William Burn (1789–1870) adapted the building to the Scottish baronial style, adding further towers and mock battlements. Some of the Gothic exterior decoration was inspired by Walter Scott, who was a friend of the Dalyell family. Today, the building is three-storey at the main north facade, with two-storey wings.
In 1944, the house, its parkland, its contents, and an endowment for its upkeep were given to the National Trust for Scotland by Eleanor Dalyell. The house contains a collection of porcelain, furniture, and portraits which trace the family's lives and interests through the centuries.References:
Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.
King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.
The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.
It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.