Dirleton is a small village that sits between Gullane and
North Berwick in East Lothian;
the village is built around Dirleton Castle and Gardens. The village itself
dates from at least the beginning of the 17th century and was built around a
large village green; the green was later expanded north to where the 17th
century Dirleton Kirk stands. The kirk was built to replace the old 12th century
church in Gullane that was being inundated by sand.
Dirleton Castle was built by the De Vaux family in the
early 13th century. At the end of the century the castle was captured by the
English during the Scottish Wars of Independence; it was recaptured by
Robert the Bruce early in the 14th century; like many other castles of the time,
was destroyed by the Bruce to prevent it falling back in to English hands. Later
in the 14th century, the castle passed to the Halyburton family who rebuilt it.
Later additions, which included the gardens, were made by the Ruthven family who
had acquired the castle in the early 16th century.
In 1600, following the Gowrie Conspiracy, Dirleton
Castle was forfeited by the Ruthvens; in time it passed on to James Maxwell who
became the first Earl of Dirletoun in 1646. The castle was once again
captured by the English following the Battle of Dunbar in 1650 and was once
again destroyed. The ruin was acquired by the Nisbet family in 1663; however
they chose to build a new residence at Archerfield to the northwest of Dirleton.
In 1923 the remains of the castle passed in to state care and is now looked
after by Historic Scotland.
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