Heritage and Culture

Folklore Friday - Borthwick Castle and the Ghost of Mary Queen of Scots

By Sophie

Borthwick castle stands near Gorebridge, just a short drive from the city of Edinburgh. A breathtaking and beautiful building, the castle was built over 600 years ago and has seen it's fair share of gory drama.

In it's long lifetime, Borthwick castle has seen a number of established and famous guests pass through it's rooms. Guests including Mary Queen of Scots have stayed at the hotel, and some would argue they have stayed for longer than we thought.

In 1567 Mary sought a place of sanctuary. The Scottish noblemen wanted them captured and she needed a place to hide. While over 1,000 men surrounded Borthwick Castle, Mary managed to sneak away through a window, and dressed as a page boy. Although she left the castle that day in body, many say that even to this day her spirit wanders back to her place of solace from time to time.

Other paranormal activity at Borthwick castle has been reported by guests and investigators alike. From voices with no bodies to mysterious banging and clicking noises, other spooky and unexplainable things include light anomalies and guests being overcome with extreme sickness.

There is one room in particular that many avoid. The Red Room is a specific room in the castle that has terrified so many people that the owners of Borthwick castle are rumored to have hired a priest from Edinburgh to carry out an exorcism on it. There are many tales of tragic and spooky goings on in the famous Red Room. One of which tells of a young servant girl, who gave birth to an illegitimate Borthwick son in the room. Being a potential threat to the title, both the servant girl and her poor child were killed.

Fast forward a few decades and another story tells of the Borthwick family's chancellor, who used the Red Room to store all his embezzled valuables in. The safes remain in the walls of the room to this day. Rumour has it that the Borthwick's found out their chancellor was embezzling money, and instead of confronting him, they decided to stop him on his way home from Edinburgh one day and burn him to death.

Many have reported spotting ghosts of the servant girl as well as the chancellor as they make their way through the infamous Red Room.