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Clan Douglas and Tantallon Castle

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' Temptallon is of suche strength as I nede not to feare the malice of Myne enymeys, and therefore do thinke myself nowe to be out of daunger ' - Sir Ralph Sadler , English ambassador , letter to Henry VIII , 1543

The Douglas Earls of Angus were one of the most powerful baronial families in Scotland. The castle was the baronial residence for more than three hundred years.

Tantallon Castle was built in the mid fifteenth century by William Douglas,the first Earl of Douglas. Due to a dispute about a inheritance the House split in two , one side led by 'Black Douglas' Archibald and the other by the 'Red' Douglases of Angus.

George Douglas was given the Lordship of Douglas for his efforts in defeating the Black Douglases at Arkinholm in 1455. In 1460 the Earl placed the crown of Scotland on the head of James III at Kelso Abbey.

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The Douglas Tower is on the north side of the castle , on the left in the picture. It had six storeys reached by a spiral stair.

In 1491 Archibald,the fifth Earl,agreed with Henry VII of England to deliver James IV into English hands. The King ordered Archibald to confine himself to his castle and laid siege by land and sea to Tantallon. The siege lasted several months but the outcome of it is not clear.

James V was only 17 months old when he became King and the Scottish nobles agreed to take turns to protect the young king. Archibald, the sixth Earl , looked after the King but he refused to give him up.For two and a half years the King was a virtual prisoner at Tantallon. In 1528 the king escaped and rejoined his mother in Stirling. He charged Archibald with treason,gathered a large force and advanced on Tantallon.

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 The king laid siege to Tantallon for 20 days and ordered his gun battery to fire on the castle. However the guns did not do much damage to the castle walls and the siege was unsuccessful.

In 1650 30 moss-troopers , based in Tantallon , were wreaking havoc on the advance of Cromwell into Scotland. General Monk ,with an army of 2000 men , was ordered to attack the castle. For 12 days the English guns bombarded Tantallon. Finally they breached the castle walls and overcame Captain Alexander Setton and his men.

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