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Life Below Stairs At Craigmillar Castle

8 July 2009

Visitors to Craigmillar Castle this weekend can find out what life was like for a 16th-century steward preparing for a visit by his laird.  Back in 1570 Malcolm Stewart had the weighty responsibility for running the household and estate for his master, Sir Simon Preston.

As a man of wealth and power Sir Simon was often away enjoying his other residences, but news has just arrived that he’s arriving soon and expects everything to be ready.

Sheena Garden, Historic Scotland interpretation manager, said: “Malcolm would have had a huge amount to do at very short notice – stock the kitchens for a feast, tidy the gardens, put tapestries up on the walls, light the fires and make sure there’s plenty of ale brewed.  But he’s still able to find time to chat to visitors about what life was like for a lord’s most senior servant in the 16th century.”

The first of the two events takes place on the 11th and 12th of July against one of Scotland’s well known.  Historic Scotland have been running a special membership offer, 18 for 12, which has proven extremely popular – and runs out on the 15th July.  People signing up to membership at the event will gain free entry as part of their membership.  

Claire Smith, Historic Scotland Members manager, said:  “The membership offer has proven really popular since we launched it – with 6 months free and only paying £6.16 a month it provides a really great solution to great days out all summer long with the family.”   

The character of Malcolm Stewart has been created as part of Historic Scotland’s annual programme of interpretation events.  The programme brings to life the historic buildings in the care of Historic Scotland offering visitors a chance to find out what life would have been like for those who lived, worked and visited these places at key times in their history.

Craigmillar Castle was of particular importance in the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots.

She was a frequent visitor to the castle and Simon Preston was one of her close circle of advisors.  Using the character of the castle steward will invite visitors to look at this intriguing part of Scottish history from the perspective of an ordinary person.

This event is included in the admission charge for the Castle.

Notes for editors:

  • Meet Malcolm Stewart takes place at Craigmillar Castle on Saturday and Sunday 11 and 12 July and again Saturday and Sunday 15 and 16 August. Performances are 11am -1pm and 2pm-4pm each day.
  • The castle is 2.5 miles south east of Edinburgh off the A7. Telephone 0131 661 4445.
  • Ticket prices are £4.20 for adults, £3.20 concessions and £2.10 for children.  The current membership offer gives 6 months free, costing less that £6 a month to families signing up.
  • Historic Scotland has 345 historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit:
  • Historic Scotland’s Mission is to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.
  • Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations.

For further information

Rebecca Hamilton
Marketing and Media Manager
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8685 / 07788 923871