You Could Own a Possibly Haunted Castle Visited by Mary, Queen of Scots
Located in Fife, Scotland, the 16th-century Earlshall Castle boasts a rich history—and its very own ghost story
In its heyday, Earlshall Castle, a 16th-century estate in the county of Fife, hosted two of Scotland’s most well-known rulers: Mary, Queen of Scots, and her son, James VI and I. Initially occupied by descendants of another famed Scottish king, Robert the Bruce, the historic castle is now up for sale, reports Mikhaila Friel for Insider.
Located 55 miles from Edinburgh and 6 miles from the coastal town of St. Andrews—reputedly the birthplace of golf—the property, which has no official asking price, comes complete with its own ghost story. According to Savills, the agency listing the castle, the footsteps of a 17th-century baron nicknamed “Bloody Bruce” can “be heard on the spiral stairs of Earshall to this day.”
Built in 1546, the three-level, 8,398-square-foot castle boasts ten bedrooms with highly decorated ceilings, stone fireplaces and a secret stairway leading to the main gallery. Per Travel and Leisure’s Dobrina Zhekova, this 50-foot-long dining room features a hand-painted ceiling depicting Scottish royal families’ coats of arms.
The castle’s oversized windows are unusual for the period, as medieval structures were often built with narrow windows in case of an attack. Other standout features of the home include a library, a gun room and a kitchen.
When the Bruce line died out in 1708, the Henderson family of Fordell inherited the castle. According to the Savills listing, the home fell into “a state of dereliction” after the Hendersons sold it in 1824.
Prominent Scottish architect Robert Lorimer led a restoration of the property at the end of the 19th century. Though the estate now features modern comforts, like six bathrooms and a five-car garage, Lorimer took care to maintain the castle’s Tudor-era quality.
As Travel and Leisure notes, the architect also added three cottages that can be used as guest houses and created a collection of walled gardens, including an orchard, bowling green, rose terrace, yew walk, secret garden and topiary lawn with 125-year-old-yews.
“The magic is all ... Lorimer, who restored the castle and laid out the gardens,” Jamie Macnab, a real estate agent with Savills, tells the New York Post’s Mary K. Jacob. “It is a genuine castle with vaulted ground floor rooms, a Great Hall, secret spiral stairs and musket holes.”
At least one historic inhabitant of the castle is rumored to have stuck around from beyond the grave: Andrew Bruce, Sixth Baron of Earlshall. At the time of the baron’s residency, writes Ellen Gutoskey for Mental Floss, Scottish Presbyterians known as the Covenanters were protesting the monarchy’s status as head of the Church of Scotland. A supporter of the Stuart kings, Andrew may have earned the nickname “Bloody Bruce” for the brutal tactics he used at the Battle of Airds Moss in 1680, when he allegedly lopped off the hands and head of Covenanter leader Richard Cameron.
A Savills spokesperson declined to comment on the property’s “haunted” history, telling Insider that doing so would be “unhelpful” with sales.