A Brief History of Traquair

Traquair House History

A Brief History of Traquair and the Family

Traquair is Scotland’s Oldest Inhabited House. It has been lived in for over 900 years and was originally a hunting lodge for the kings and queens of Scotland.

In 1491, it was gifted by the Earl of Buchan to his son, James Stewart, who became the 1st Laird of Traquair.

During the 1500’s and 1600’s the main building was completed and it was during this time that the Lairds of Traquair were at the centre of political power and became associated with Mary Queen of Scots who visited Traquair in 1566.

In the early 1600’s the 7th Laird rose to become Chief High Treasurer of Scotland in 1636 and was granted an earldom.

However, in the mid 1600’s the family returned to the Catholic faith, thereby forfeiting any further chance of advancement and their later support for the Jacobite cause increase their isolation.

The two wings were added in 1694 and these were the last additions to the house with the exception of the famous Bear Gates at the top of the main drive which were built in 1739 only to be closed in 1745 following the visit of Bonnie Prince Charlie when the 5th Earl promised they would never be opened again until the Stuarts returned to the throne.

The Stuarts survived at Traquair until 1875 when Lady Louisa Stuart died unmarried. The earldom was lost and the house passed to her cousin Henry Constable Maxwell who took the name Maxwell Stuart and it is Catherine Maxwell Stuart, 21st Lady of Traquair, who lives with her family in the house today.

Mural in Museum Room7th LairdThe Bear GatesOld Car outside Traquair