Located on a rocky crag in Tache, the unmistakeably fairy-tale Saint-Pierre Castle is certainly unique. Its famous four side towers (added in the 19th century) give it an almost Disney-like appearance.
The first records of the castle date from the late 12th century and it is thought that is when the castle was first constructed. Far less grand than it is today, the original castle consisted only of basic walls and two towers.
Over subsequent centuries, the castle had a number of owners including members of the House of Savoy. A family of local nobility purchased the castle in the 17th century and it was that family that expanded the castle into a large fortified residence.
Thereafter, the castle fell into disrepair until its purchase by baron Emanuele Bollati in the 1870s. He renovated the castle and modernised many of its features. It remained in the possession of his family until the 20th century when it was handed over to the town of Saint-Pierre and became the Regional Museum of Natural Science.References:
Craigmillar is one of Scotland’s most perfectly preserved castles. It began as a simple tower-house residence. Gradually, over time, it developed into a complex of structures and spaces, as subsequent owners attempted to improve its comfort and amenity. As a result, there are many nooks and crannies to explore.
The surrounding gardens and parkland were also important. The present-day Craigmillar Castle Park has fascinating reminders of the castle’s days as a rural retreat on the edge of Scotland’s capital city.
At the core lies the original, late-14th-century tower house, among the first of this form of castle built in Scotland. It stands 17m high to the battlements, has walls almost 3m thick, and holds a warren of rooms, including a fine great hall on the first floor.
‘Queen Mary’s Room’, also on the first floor, is where Mary is said to have slept when staying at Craigmillar. However, it is more likely she occupied a multi-roomed apartment elsewhere in the courtyard, probably in the east range.
Sir Simon Preston was a loyal supporter of Queen Mary, whom she appointed as Provost of Edinburgh. In this capacity, he was her host for her first night as a prisoner, at his townhouse in the High Street, on 15 June 1567. She was taken to Lochleven Castle the following day.
The west range was rebuilt after 1660 as a family residence for the Gilmour family.
The 15th-century courtyard wall is well preserved, complete with gunholes shaped like inverted keyholes. Ancillary buildings lie within it, including a private family chapel.