Auldhame Castle, East Lothian
East of Auldhame, North Berwick
Auldhame Castle or
Old-ham Castle, is a ruinous 3 storey 16th century L-plan tower house which also contained a courtyard.
A barmkin wall is thought to have been destroyed by cliff subsidence and quarrying, and nothing now remains of it.
Today Auldhame Castle stands on the Seacliff Estate which is accessible to the public during daylight hours.
It stands partially hidden within woodland not far from the beach road overlooking a fabulous beach and small rocky harbour and in view of Tantallon Castle.
~ History ~
1529 ~ Following King James V assuming the throne as an adult ruler and rejecting the Douglas's and their associates, Adam Otterburn draws up charges of treason against them, which leads to their exile into England.
1530's ~ Sir Adam Otterburn, King's advocate and Provost of Edinburgh, acquires church land to build a fortified tower house.
1534 ~ Adam Otterburn signs a border peace treaty in London between Scotland and England.
1536 ~ King Henry VIII of England requests a meeting with King James V of Scotland. Adam is sent to London again to discuss Henry's motives and the possible agenda. He is in London during the arrest and conviction of Ann Boleyn.
1538 ~ Adam writes a speech in French to welcome Mary of Guise to Edinburgh. Later the same year he is imprisoned in Dumbarton Castle and the following year deprived of office and fined £1000 for communicating with the forfeited Earl of Angus.
Hertford has been instructed not to negotiate, so Adam replies in defiance and refuses to yield up the town.
During the interlude in the war with England, Otterburn is concerned to recover money owing to him. His holding of lands at Auldhame, like those of his neighbours Oliver Sinclair, the favourite of James V, and John, 5th Lord Borthwick, require duties to be paid to Cardinal Beaton. Adam writes to the Cardinal hoping for money owed to him by Sinclair. Adam was by now distrusted by Regent Arran and is briefly imprisoned with a threat of further lawsuits.
Friends like Elizabeth Gordon, wife of John Stewart, 4th Earl of Atholl write to Mary of Guise on his behalf.
1547 ~ Adam is sent to Hampton Court to meet with King Edward VI of England. There he is dismissed as a diplomat by the council as hostility between the two countries resumes. He is given £75 as a gift for his departure.
He writes to Regent Arran urging him heed his warnings of the English invasion. Later the same year the Scottish army are defeated by the English at the Battle.
1548 ~ Adam is murdered in Edinburgh by a servant of Regent Arran. Patrick Mure, laird of Annestoun near Lanark, and his son are charged with treason for his murder.
1650 ~ Auldhame is occupied and damaged by Cromwell's army during a 12 day bombardment of nearby Tantallon Castle. This is after Oliver Cromwell's defeat of the Scots army at Dunbar and his systematic destruction of Lothian castles held by Scots loyal to the King. Auldhame is not regarded as an important house or castle.
It is later however used for the burial of Cromwell's dead from the siege. After the fall of Tantallon it is also dismantled as Cromwell's men move north.
1770's ~ Auldhame, like Tantallon, become the local quarry and are used to build cottages and walls nearby.