Tantallon Castle: symbol of strength

The Hazel Tree

Tantallon and beach 3Gaunt, forceful, forbidding… Tantallon Castle sits like an injured eagle on its clifftop eyrie, and for some reason you just can’t take your eyes off it.  Built to withstand a siege, it saw not one but three… and the last one was its downfall.  Incidentally, it’s pronounced ‘Tan-TALL-on’, with the accent on the second syllable, as I found out only recently.


When David II, son of Robert the Bruce, conferred an earldom upon William Douglas in 1358, the newly-created Earl of Douglas decided to make his mark on the landscape by building a magnificent castle on his estate of North Berwick, on the east coast of Scotland.

He had acquired the estate from his uncle, ‘the good Sir James of Douglas’, but William, it appears, didn’t have quite the same spotless reputation.  He was married to a sister of the Earl of Mar, and together they had a son, James;  but William fathered another son…

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