Barnes Castle
Castle East Lothian Borders

Barnes Castle

Castle In East Lothian, Borders

An unfinished castle built by Sir John Seton situated a few miles north-east of Haddington in East Lothian.

East Lothian in Scotland is an absolute treasure trove of fabulous places to find all within short driving distances of each other.

Barnes Castle is one of those fascinating places as it is an unfinished castle, having just a vaulted ground floor and a few towers on the corners.

Construction was begun in the late 16th century by Sir John Seton who was a diplomat and Treasurer of the Household to King James VI of Scotland.

However, Seton didn't see the castle completed as he died in 1594 and the family decided not to finish it. Over a hundred years later in 1713, the castle was finally sold by George Seaton who was the Jacobite Earl of Dunfermline.

A unique feature of Barnes Castle is its axial plan with it being built on a north-east to south-west axis. The building measures 50m by 39m with towers on each corner, presumably for defence. There are also some smaller towers dotted along with wall too.

There are also gun loops pointing in towards the internal courtyard. which implies that Seton had planned for a last-ditch defence of the castle, even if the outer walls had been breached.

To give you an idea of what it would have looked like if completed, here is a reconstruction from Andrew Spratt.

Although unfinished and ruined, there is still plenty of Barnes Castle to see. Looking back as we headed to the car we snapped a shot with Bass Rock and the Berwick Law in the background.

It's just a short walk from the parking. Look out for the green permissive sign pointing east and then head towards a stone wall. There you will see another right or way sign and just follow the wall to the castle.

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Contributed by Simon Hawkins

Thanks for checking out this place on the Fabulous North! I do enjoy a wander out in to the countryside trying to find hidden gems that not many people know about. You can't beat a rogue Pele tower up a remote hill or a mysterious stone circle or a stunning waterfall secluded in a forest.

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Simon Hawkins

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