Traquair House

Traquair House, South Wing
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Traquair House, South Wing

Located a mile (1.5 km) south of Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders, Traquair is reputed to be the oldest home in Scotland. Built before 1107, when Alexander I visited, Traquair was the hunting lodge of the Scottish Kings. David I, Malcolm IV, William I, Alexander II and Alexander III all spent time there during the 12th and 13th Century and the English Kings Edward I and II stopped in the early 14th Century en route to conduct their Scottish affairs. The charter which established the Glasgow was signed at Traquair. James III gave the house to his favourite William Rodgers (1469), but shortly thereafter the Earl of Buchan (the King's Uncle) forced Rodgers out and later hung him from Lauder Bridge, restoring Stuart ownership. In 1566, Mary, Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley visited with their baby son, later James VI. The baby's crib can still be seen in the house, along with Mary's rosary, crucifix and purse.

The original tower-house was extended c.1641 by the 1st Earl of Traquair, who had been Lord High Treasurer of Scotland for King Charles I. The 2nd Earl extended the house further and also reverted to Catholicism; a concealed room, where mass was celebrated, dates from this time. By the end of the 17th C. the house had taken on its current form extended around a simple courtyard, with iron railings at the front.

The house retains its connection with the Stuart family and the Jacobite cause, indeed visitors must use a side entrance because the main Bear Gates were closed behind Bonnie Prince
Charlie and are not to be opened until a Stuart is restored to the throne. The 5th Earl spent two years in the Tower of London for his part in the 1745 rebellion. In the 19th C., Sir Walter Scott gained inspiration for several books at Traquair.

Today, the house includes a fine library and the Museum Room with its 16th C. mural which was hidden beneath wallpaper until 1900. The Traquair Brewery, reopened in 1965, produces a range of traditional beers.

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