Castle owned by world’s first gun-toting assasin for sale

Old Woodhouselee Castle in Roslin, Midlothian. Picture: Supplied
Old Woodhouselee Castle in Roslin, Midlothian. Picture: Supplied
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The ruins of a castle which once belonged to a Scot who carried out the world’s first documented assassination by firearm have gone on sale.

Old Woodhouselee Castle in Roslin, Midlothian, was once the home of James Hamilton after he married its heiress, Lady Anne Sinclair.

He became the first man recorded in history to carry out a planned assassination using a firearm – shooting James Stewart, the half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots, on January 23, 1570.

His home was burnt down as an act of revenge following the crime, and now all that remains 446 years later are large underground vaults and a pile of rubble.

But those interested in its grisly history now have the chance to purchase the ruins - which come with two acres of land and a five-bedroom luxury mansion.

Firth House is currently on the market with Savills for offers over £1.4 million.

In the description is a piece about the area’s history, which reads: “The ruins of Woodhouselee Castle lies in a spectacular wooded setting to the north of Firth House.

“This dates from the 1500s and stands in what was a strategic position overlooking the North River Esk. All that remains are two collapsed barrel vaulted storerooms and part of a tower above a cliff plunging to the river.”

It was during the 16th century that the castle became the property of James Hamilton, and legend has it that his wife and newborn child were evicted by James Stewart, who was the 1st Earl of Moray and the Regent of Scotland at the time.

The pair died after being left in the cold, and it is said that their ghosts haunt the site and their screams can still be heard by those dwelling nearby. As an act of revenge, Hamilton stalked the Regent across much of Northern England and the Borders and through Perth, Glasgow and Stirling, finally finding his perfect opportunity in Linlithgow.

According to the legend, he set up his assassination position in a gallery window in the house of the town’s provost, Charles Drummond.

He fired a single shot at the Regent, leaving him with fatal wounds, and fled on horseback. Hamilton left the country and went to France, and Woodhouselee Castle was burned down by the Regent’s men.