Scottish castle once home to world's first assassin for sale

The ruins of a castle - which 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. Picture: Deadline News

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.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

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.

Hamilton about to assassinate the Regent from 1835 depiction. Picture: Deadline News

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.

Read More

Read More
Home with ruins of a cannibal laird's castle up for sale

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.

The ruin of Woodhouse Lee castle 1790. Picture: Deadline News

“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.

Hamilton about to assassinate the Regent from 1835 depiction. Picture: Deadline News

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.

The assasssin hung black cloth behind him to hide his shadow, and spread feathers on the floor to soften his footsteps.

The ruin of Woodhouse Lee castle 1790. Picture: Deadline News

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.

The assassination was so notorious that there is even a stained glass window at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh portraying the scene.

The new owners of the ruined castle will also inherit Firth House, described by Savills as an “elegant B listed Georgian mansion with policies in secluded setting close to Edinburgh”.

It comes with a swimming pool, triple garage, paddocks and stables, as well as fishing rights on the River Esk.