Waughton Castle has its origins in the 14th century, with a “Hall Of Walchtoun” being mentioned in a document from 1395. It was built by the Hepburn family, who also owned the nearby Hailes Castle and Markle Castle.
The castle stands on top of a natural rock terrace which rises from the surrounding flat land to a height of around 4.5m. Originally this would have been surrounded by a ditch for added protection, and traces of it can be seen to the north. The site measures approximately 100m east-west by 40m north-south.
At the south-west corner of the site was a square tower, which is said to have had Saxon origins. All that remains of it now is a smaller projecting wing, although the walls still stand to a height of 10m, which has 16th century features.
On the south side of the eastern portion of the site there was once a chapel, although nothing of it now remains. It’s said that in the 19th century the farmer dug up the graveyard to use the rich soil on his fields, and “stone coffins” (possibly cists) were found.
Around 70 metres to the south of the castle is a large 16th century beehive doocot.
During the Rough Wooing Waughton Castle was captured by Lord Grey of Wilton in 1548, but it was soon recaptured by the Hepburns. In 1567 the Hepburns of Waughton fought at the Battle of Carberry Hill in support of Mary Queen of Scots and her husband, James Hepburn, the 4th Earl of Bothwell and their kinsman.
Some time after this, possibly as a punishment, the castle came into the possession of Sir John Carmichael of Carmichael, and in 1569 Robert Hepburn, son of the rightful laird, raided the “hous of Waughtone”, stealing 16 horses from the stables. The castle did eventually come back to the Hepburn family, but in 1654 the Reverend John Hepburn of Waughton sold the castle and lands to an Alexander Cockburn.
By the 18th century the castle was in ruins, and was providing stone for the building of walls and cottages in the local area. It is now surrounded by the farmland of Old Waughton.
Alternative names for Waughton Castle
Hall Of Walchtoun; Hous Of Waughtone; Wachtoune; Wauchtone