N.E. of Haddington
B road off A199
Barnes Castle is known locally as The Vaults and is a very unusual 16th century ruin that never stood much higher than what you see today.
It was built to demonstrate the wealth of its builder Sir John Seton, Treasurer, and diplomate to King James VI of Scotland.
It is situated on a commanding ridge with the mansion part of the building on the east side within a courtyard. Some of the towers contain gunports but it was more of an unfinished mansion than true castle.
The post code will take you off the main road up the hill to some cottages, where with consideration you can park and follow the muddy track east to the Castle.
~ History ~
1312 ~ The Barnes estate is granted to Alexander de Seyton by King Robert the Bruce.
1511 ~ King IV of Scotland grants George, 5th Lord Seton, and his spouse Janet Hepburn, the barony of Barnes.
1513 ~ George Seton is killed at the Battle of Flodden fighting the English army of King Henry VIII, leaving his young heir, also named George, and Lady Seton to run the family affairs.
1549 ~George Seton dies, leaving an underage son and heir. Once again, the familie's affairs are left in the hands of Lady Seton.
1567 ~ The Barnes estate are granted to James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell and later to Lord Mark Ker.
1583 ~ The states are granted to Sir John Seton. He later embarks on an ambitious building project.
1594 ~ Sir John Seton dies, leaving his fortified mansion incomplete. He leaves an infant son and heir, also named John, who does not inherit his father's estates until almost 20 years after his death.
1645 ~ Sir John the younger is fined 40,000 merks for his support of the Royalist Marquis Montrose uprising, leaving insufficient funds to finish his father's castle.
1716 ~ The Jacobite George Seaton sells the incomplete castle which is left to decay further under its new owners.