Niddry Castle is a sixteenth-century tower house built around 1500 by the Lord Seton. Mary, Queen of Scots stayed here 2 May 1568, after her escape from captivity in Loch Leven Castle.
George, Lord Seton garrisoned the castle in support of Queen Mary in 1572 during the civil war in Scotland. According to two chronicles, Niddry was attacked twice, in April and June. In April, Captain Scougall with forewarning repelled a night attack. He suspended heavy timber beams around the tower and released them on a party climbing scaling ladders. The garrison of Edinburgh Castle supported Niddry by attacking Merchiston Castle, which was held for James VI, as a diversion.
Margaret Seton, daughter of Lord Seton married Claud Hamilton, on 1 August 1574 at Niddry with 'great triumphs.' On 13 May 1590, Peder Munk, Great Admiral of Denmark, and the Danish commissioners appointed to take possession of lands granted to Anne of Denmark stayed at the castle, before riding to Linlithgow Palace the next morning. Patrick Gordon of Auchindoun stayed at Niddry as the guest of Lord Seton in July 1590, hoping to regain royal favour.
In around 1680, the castle passed to the Hope family and became part of the Hopetoun estate. The Hope family, now Marquises of Linlithgow, were granted the additional title Baron Niddry in 1814. In the 1990s, Niddry Castle was restored by Peter Wright as a private residence. An extensive archaeological excavation of the castle and its surrounding barmkin area was also initiated by the proprietor. Formerly a Scheduled Monument, the tower was de-scheduled in 1996 to allow restoration, at which point it was upgraded to an A Listing.
The four-storey L-plan tower has a corbelled parapet, and a turret in the angle of the 'L', which was added in the 17th century. The basement is vaulted, and the hall was above, on the first floor.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.