History of Langley Castle

Langley is a fine example of the sort of Castle that was commonly built in the borders country at this time, although few survived. Armed clans, collectively known as Borders Reivers would often raid one another’s properties. The political tensions along the Scotland and England borders meant that the people who settled there would have to rely on their cunning and guile to make a living. This frequently meant night time raids on horseback.

As a military stronghold, Langley Castle only lasted some 50 years before being gutted in a fire. Although it was to play no further part in the military overtures between England and Scotland, the estate passed into the ownership of the Earls of Derwentwater who would become entwined in exactly that. After the glorious revolution in 1688, the Catholic King James II was removed from the throne to be replaced by the Protestant William of Orange. James would die in exile but his son, also James and recognised as the legitimate King by the Papacy, would raise a rebellion to restore absolute monarchism. The so called Jacobite rebellion was quickly crushed with the unfortunate Earls of Derwentwater backing the losing side. It cost them their heads and the family their estate as Parliament temporarily suspended Habeus corpus (the right to fair trial) and confiscated all Jacobite lands. The lands having been confiscated were taken for the crown. Ironically, in a role reversal so common in history, it was this abuse of power that Parliament had wanted to prevent by removing absolute monarchy; and the kind of absolute power that the Jacobites had been looking to restore!

The castle would eventually be bought by a historian Cadwallader Bates who dedicated his life to restoring Langley. The result is the architectural gem that you can see today, without any of the later additions that so many other castles have. Amongst the collections of images and paintings that decorate the interior walls includes a photo library of the castle at various stages of its restoration, the result of which is the chance to stay and relax in a genuine castle hotel as Sir Thomas himself would have done 650 years earlier.