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Roslin Castle [Roslin Castle]

This is the original home in Scotland of the St. Clair family, since the eleventh century, when William ``the Seemly'' Sinclair accompanied Queen Margaret and the Holy Rood to Edinburgh. See the writeup by Ian Sinclair and the many pictures by Richard Huseth. Here is a brief but good writeup with an excellent aerial picture by Midlothian On-Line. See also Landmark Trust.

Nearby is the famous and unique Rosslyn Chapel.


From: Niven Sinclair <>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 10:31:30 +0100

Different branches of the family have different mottos; "Commit Thy Work to God" is not universal. The list is too long to give you here. Rosslyn e.g. is "Fecht" (Fight).

Niven Sinclair

The White Lady of Roslin Castle

From: Jerry H. Sinclair <>
Date: Tuesday, April 20, 1999 7:30 PM

[The White Lady of Rosslyn Chapel]

The other white lady, is a maid that took care of the children at the Castle and was frighten by a mouse, droped her candle and started a fire, died in the fire, it has been said that she has seen in the castle with her candle.


The Hound of Roslin

Here is the Hound legend by way of Gary D. Sinclair, paraphrased from the Scottish Banner July 1996:

The Hound of Rosslyn can supposedly still be heard howling near Roslin Castle, on cold stormy nights. This ghost originated in the early fourteenth century during a battle in which one of the invading Englishmen had a big dog, which when his master was slain attacked the Scot who did it. Other Scots assisted by killing the dog with sword and axe.

But later that night, as the victorious Scots were relaxing in the castle, the ghost of the hound appeared and panicked them. It appeared each following evening, even though it never attacked anyone. This became accepted and normal.

Until the Scot who had killed the dog's master was on duty alone one night. That one died of terror, taking three nights to do so.

The Lay of the Last Minstrel

by Sir Walter Scott

From Canto Sixth, XXII.

With war and wonder all on flame,
To Roslin's bowers young Harold came,
Where, by sweet glen and greenwood tree,
He learn'd a milder minstrelsy;
Yet something of the Northern spell
Mix'd with the softer numbers well.


O listen, listen, ladies gay!
No haughty feat of arms I tell;
Soft is the note, and sad the lay,
That mourns the lovely Rosabelle.

—"Moor, moor the barge, ye gallant crew!
And gentle ladye, deign to stay!
Rest thee in Castle Ravensheuch,
Nor tempt the stormy firth to-day.

"The blackening wave is edg'd with white:
To inch and rock the sea-mews fly;
The fishers have heard the Water-Sprite,
Whose screams forebode that wreck is nigh.

"Last night the gifted Seer did view
A wet shroud swathed round ladye gay;
Then stay thee, Fair, in Ravensheuch:
Why cross the gloomy firth today?"

" 'Tis not because Lord Lindesay's heir
To-night at Roslin leads the ball,
But that my ladye-mother there
Sits lonely in her castle-hall.

" 'Tis not because the ring they ride,
And Lindesay at the ring rides well,
But that my sire the wine will chide,
If 'tis not fill'd by Rosabelle."

O'er Roslin all that dreary night
A wondrous blaze was seen to gleam;
'Twas broader than the watch-fire's light,
And redder than the bright moonbeam.

It glar'd on Roslin's castled rock,
It ruddied all the copse wood glen;
'Twas seen from Dryden's groves of oak
And seen from cavern'd Hawthorn-den.

The Hound Seen

From: John Ritchie <>
Sent: Saturday, October 23, 1999 5:30 PM

It is interesting while looking at the website. I came across the story of the Ghost Hound of Roslin.

I was born and brought up in Roslin, and went to school in the village. When I was about twelve years old my friend one Neil Leitch and I spent quite a bit of time playing in Roslin castle, as Neil's Aunt, Miss Leitch was the caretaker and lived in the castle some forty years ago. We explored most of the nooks and crannies of the Castle as boys of that age are wont to do.

One Saturday, near the end of February (my birthday is the 25th of February, this is why I remember it) we were exploring the second level corridor which connects the monks cells, the old scriptorium, and the dungeons, when all of a sudden we were aware of some light coming from the end of the corridor which had had the windows blocked up and there was normally no light and coming from that area, the light grew in intensity which was enough to alarm the senses of two twelve year olds, who admittedly were searching for just this kind of experience.

We both looked at each other to check that we were both aware of the phenomenon, we both turned at the same time and took off along the corridor at what seemed like record breaking speed, until we came to the old main kitchen which is a big room with a stone staircase which is built into the right hand side or the east wall of the castle as we hurried up the stair we looked down to see the light which had been growing and moving towards us down the corridor was what appeared to be a large wolfhound type dog, which ran underneath us, and appeared to go straight through the wall next to the large fireplace, which was the old main cooking area for the castle. We did not stop until we got up the staircase and through the door into the upper part of the castle.

To be suddenly met by Miss Leitch who could tell from our nervous state that something had happened, when we blurted out the story, Miss Leitch smiled and said "aye boys its an old castle, with lots of strange things like that, but dinna worry about them they will no harm ye, come and have a bottle of lemonade". Nothing more was said, we drank our lemonade and had some biscuits and the sense of fear dropped away. But, we did not go near that particular corridor for quite a long time.

Much later we looked at the wall where the apparition of the dog had disappeared to find that it had once been a doorway. The arch from the door still exists today. Miss Leitch, my friend Neils aunt, lived at the castle on her own for about twenty years as the sole caretaker and tourist guide, and many times recently, I have wished that I had spoken more to her about her experiences at the Castle, but youth rejects the wisdom of age and its only now I regret missing the opportunities, gifted to youth.

I include an extract from R. MacDonald Robertson More Highland Folktales. Which I read many years later. May I also add that there is also the story of Hold and Held the two hunting Hounds which gained the Sinclairs, the lands of Roslin when he won a bet with the King that his Hounds would catch a deer before it crossed the Esk river they caught the deer in midstream but that is another story. —John Ritchie

The Dog of Roslin.

by R. MacDonald Robertson

To this day can be heard on the dark and stormy nights the baying of a dog in the woods, near Roslin Castle, Midlothian. The Legend I heard was that all day on February 24th 1303, the wooded glen near Roslin Castle echoed to the sound of battle as the Scots and the English fought grimly. An English soldier killed in the fight was the owner of a large hound, which attacked its masters killer so fiercely that the scot was forced to slay the beast too. That night, as the battle-weary Scots rested within Roslin castle, the ghostly shape of a huge houng suddenly appeared in the guard-room, terrifying the troops. Night afternight the phantom dog appeared, and the soldiers named it "the Mauthe Doog" At last,it came the turn of the soldier who had slain the hound to stand guard. He carried the castle keys down a dark, twisting passageway to the guard captain's room. Suddenly there was heard a cry of terror and the terrible snarl of a hound from the passage. The soldier struggled from the passage terror-stricken. Though unwounded, the man never spoke another word, and died three days later. After that, the hound vanished from the castle. Nevertheless its baying is still occasionally heard.

There may be an interesting disparity point here. Niven Sinclair mentioned to me, when I wrote the Battle of Roslin piece, that the present Castle was designed by an English soldier who was captured during the battle of Roslin, and at the time of the battle the Castle stood on the site which is now occupied by the Chapel. Maybe some of your contributers may have more information pertaining to this point. Quaere verum, regards John Ritchie

Last changed: 99/11/21 14:41:14 [Clan Sinclair]