The Hound of Roslin Castle

A true Scottish ghost story

Roslin Castle circa 1820 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

The ruins of Roslin Castle sit on the bank of the North Esk river just a few miles south of Edinburgh. The castle dates back to the 14th century, and is built on the site where an even earlier battle was fought between the Scots and English in 1303, during the First War of Independence.

The Battle of Roslin 1303

As the battle hung balanced, an English knight and his great hound fought bravely, but at last the knight was slain by a Scottish warrior. The hound attacked his master’s killer but was slain in its turn by other Scottish soldiers wielding swords and axes. The battle turned – the Scots were victorious and the remnants of the invading English army were sent scuttling homewards…

Later that night as the triumphant Scots caroused, the hound appeared again, howling into the darkness, till the soldiers panicked and fled. Each night the hound returned, howling, searching… until finally one night it came face to face with the man who had slain its master…

No one knows what happened when they met, though no one who heard them ever forgot the terror in the warrior’s screams. All that is known is that the warrior never spoke again… and three nights later, he died.

They say that, when storms are abroad and the wind blasts through the ruins of the castle, the phantom hound can still be heard… howling for vengeance into the darkness of the night…


Not scared enough yet? Then here are a few the Fretful Porpentine recommends…

The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell

Illustration by mgkellermeyer via Deviant Art

The Apple Tree by Daphne du Maurier

Click-Clack the Rattle Bag by Neil Gaiman

The Last Séance by Agatha Christie

The Polar Express – the movie

The Monkey’s Paw by WW Jacobs

The Body-Snatcher by Robert Louis Stevenson

Boris Karloff in the 1945 film…

Mad Maudlin by Rosy Thornton

Three Blind Mice by Anonymous

Silence: A Fable by Edgar Allan Poe


33 thoughts on “The Hound of Roslin Castle

  1. Ooooh, that’s a deliciously creepy story, FictionFan! I’ve always thought it fascinating how we love those legends. At the same time as we have genuine fears, we also like the wit scared out of us. Interesting thing about humans… Thanks for your recommendations for scary reading. Who needs coffee to keep awake when you have stories like those?


  2. Thank you, FF — and the porpentine, too — for this spooky roundup of tales sure to frighten at Halloween! I’m going to come back and try a few … after I get my work done, of course!


  3. You made me laugh out loud with your inclusion of the Polar Express with the image of the protagonist with his dead eyes. 😀 😃 😄 CGI and motion capture have come a long way.

    Happy Halloween to you! Great stories!


  4. Sadly, although I lived near Roslin for years (and travelled through it every day) I never met the hound!
    I’m preparing for tonight’s onslaught by sitting with my feet up reading “A Night in the Lonesome October” – the pumpkin is carved (sorry, not a neap – too hard) the apples are ready to be “dooked” and the sweetie-bags are made up. Let the mayhem begin! 🙂


    • Did you? I don’t know it at all – had never heard of the Hound till now. The internet is a wondrous thing…

      Hahaha – sounds fun and awful at the same time! Don’t accidentally shut any of the children in the oven now… 🎃😱


    • And to you, Cleo – steer clear of people in sheets just in case… they’re not people! 🎃😱 Haha – I think Three Blind Mice is a truly horrific tale… blood-curdling! The cats love it though…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oooooh spooky! I’ve always been afraid of the Polar Express: it’s good to have cowardice ratified 😀 Poe’s Silence is on the agenda for this evening along with The Screaming Skull. After the final of the Bake-Off that is – have to get my priorities right 😉


    • Haha – I had lots of fun doing the Polar Express for a Tuesday Terror post long ago – it’s a super creepy film if you actually think about the story… 🎃😱 Oh, I hope you enjoy all three – wouldn’t it be awful if Bake-Off turned out to be the most frightening? It would if my attempts at Devonshire Honey Cake were included… *shudders*


      • Well, it was a honey-themed cake that won it – are you sure you’re not Sophie in disguise? :-0 Loved The Screaming Skull – just the right amount of fright and fun for me. It’s not often that I chuckle at a horror film 😀 (Never quite got to Silence. But I will…)


        • Haha – my honey cake could have been used as a weapon of mass destruction sadly! Glad you enjoyed The Screaming Skull – it’s fun, isn’t it? That’s why I like older horror – they don’t go too far. I hope you love Silence if you do get to it – it’s quite short, about ten minutes, I think. And I think the narrator does a fab job… 😀


    • Thank you – glad you enjoyed it! I don’t often read true ghost stories, but I like to dig a true Scottish story out for Hallowe’en – we seem to have ghosts in nearly every old house or castle… 😀


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