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The Wizard of Yester and the Goblin Hall - A Scottish Castle Built by Goblins

Goblin Ha' at the Castle of Yester


The Castle of Yester

Not Far from Edinburgh, Scotland's Capital, lie the formidable and substantial remains of Yester Castle, built by Lord Hugo de Giffard, warlock and geomancer. Hidden in tangled. thorny woodland the castle is said to be the result of a satanic pact between the owner, Hugo de Giffard; known as the wizard of Yester, and the devil himself. The castle was built in the 13th Century allegedly with the help of a team of hobgoblins.

Difficult to find, and rarely visited, the remains of the castle are hidden by dense undergrowth: only a few brave souls make the trip to Castle Wood.

Although mostly ruined, deep within the castle's interior lies the infamous Goblin Ha' or Hall, with one of the oldest surviving Gothic stone arched ceilings in existence, built in 1267 with the help of demonic forces.

The Quiet Village of Gifford


Gifford Village

Gifford is a quiet, pretty village 25 miles Southeast of Edinburgh, Scotland's capital. With a few shops, a hotel and church, quaint red sandstone cottages and outdoor bowling green this village epitomises quiet rural life deep in East Lothian, an affluent agricultural area, with a rich architectural history.

It is possible to stroll down the narrow lanes of Gifford and hear only the sound of wood pigeons, but beneath this rural idyll lie some very sinister legends.

Nearby is the magical woodland of Pishwanton, an ancient 67 acre wood with an interesting name which means "abundant waters". Once used for coppicing willow the site is the convergence of three underground streams and today is a centre for education and permaculture.

The Goblin Ha' Hotel is another clue that all is not as it seems in Gifford, a small family run hotel that takes its name from the nearby goblin chambers at Yester castle.


The Goblin Hall

On the path to Yester Castle


Sir Hugo

The barony of Yester was granted in the 12th Century to Sir Hugo de Giffard by King William the Lion and the original stone keep was built in 1267.

Legend has it that when Sir Hugo's daughter was married he gave on the occasion a hand picked pear, perfectly ripe which was to be kept safely in his daughter's new family to keep the family safe. He gave the warning that if anything happened to the fruit then disaster would befall. The family kept the fruit safe in a silver casket until 1692 when a descendant, on her wedding night, opened the casket and finding the fruit fresh still after 300 years, took a bite.

Misfortune soon ensued, the family lost wealth was lost to gambling and several family deaths occurred in quick succession. The family realising the fate that had befallen them, locked up the pear back in its silver casket. The pear. although now dry and wizened, is still kept in Coulston House at nearby Haddington.

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Needless to say the villagers are not overly keen to investigate the castle remains. Over the years there have been many reports of lights, shrieking and revelry emanating from the subterranean vaults. One recent paranormal investigator has photographed red lights coming from the chamber at night.

The Goblin Ha' is so called as it was reputedly
built by unworldly forces.
It is immortalised in "The Host's Tale" from
Sir Walter Scott's "Marmion".

"Of lofty roof, and ample size,
Beneath the castle deep it lies;
To hew the living rock profound,
The floor to pave, the arch to round,
There never toiled a mortal arm,
It all was wrought by word and charm."

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Maurice Glaude from Mobile on October 03, 2014:

Usually the energy in old buildings is strong. Lots of history and lore. A great read.

AlexK2009 from Edinburgh, Scotland on September 08, 2013:

I came across Goblin Halls while researching an article for the Badjao Bed and Breakfast blog. Nice article. I just wonder if you knew the name of the investigator saw the red lights coming from the chamber.

Andrew Hennessey mentions it in his work on Spooky Edinburgh but I am skeptical of his work as he tends not to give sources and relates everything to UFOs

Helen Lush from Cardiff, Wales, UK on June 04, 2013:

Excellent - I do love a spooky ruin! Must visit when next up north. Voted up and interesting.

Silver Fish (author) from Edinburgh Scotland on May 16, 2013:

Fantastic Keiran- what an adventure!!

Keiran on May 16, 2013:

Visited Goblin Hall today quite an interesting place very misty deep in the ruins

Silver Fish (author) from Edinburgh Scotland on March 03, 2012:


Judi Brown from UK on March 02, 2012:

Lovely hub - never heard of the place, love the story of Sir Hugo's pear.

Voted up and interesting.

Silver Fish (author) from Edinburgh Scotland on November 06, 2011:

Thanks for your lovely comments.

gramarye from Adelaide - Australia on March 20, 2011:

Fantastic hub! This is now on my places to visit next time I'm in Scotland

navasri on March 19, 2011:

Hiiiii, nice post buddy, given nice information about Yester Castle.. Till now I dnt know even the name Yester Castle... thanks for giving us good information.....

sun goddess from davao city, philippines on March 18, 2011:

I've always wanted to go to Scotland. thanks for the travel tip. :)

Silver Fish (author) from Edinburgh Scotland on March 16, 2011:

Thank you crystolite.

Emma from Houston TX on March 16, 2011:

Intersting article that carries a lot of wisdom in it.thanks for sharing.

Silver Fish (author) from Edinburgh Scotland on March 15, 2011:

Thanks, few local people even know the legend, although the castle is up for sale at the moment!

Roslin ( Roslyn)Chapel is not too far from here either- 10 miles.

Les Trois Chenes from Videix, Limousin, South West France on March 14, 2011:

Fascinating. I spent 6 years in Edinburgh as a student and never heard a word about all this. At first I thought it was a story, and had to verify it on google. Lovely hub.

Nell Rose from England on March 14, 2011:

Hi, this is fantastic! Just my kind of thing! I have really got to get on a train and head your way! I believe roslyn is not far from there either? How great is that? loved it thanks, nell

Silver Fish (author) from Edinburgh Scotland on March 14, 2011:

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on March 14, 2011:

This is a really cool hub. I enjoyed it and I am looking forward to reading your other hubs.

Silver Fish (author) from Edinburgh Scotland on March 05, 2011:

Thanks for your comments, this was just a local tale that captured my imagination. Good to see you.

MJC from UK on March 05, 2011:

I loved your hub! Great written and very interesting. Voted up. Next time when I'll visit Scotland, first thing I'll do, I'll run to the Goblin Ha' Hotel plus castle. I'll visit the hotel at night and the castle during day light, I think. :)

Christina Lornemark from Sweden on March 05, 2011:

Interesting and fascinating hub! The music in the video certainly added to the creepy feeling! I am not sure I would like to visit this place in reality though. Maybe at a distance! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to visit this fantastic place in your hub instead!

Silver Fish (author) from Edinburgh Scotland on March 04, 2011:

Thanks Gordon, very kind of you, it's a very unsettling place!

Gordon Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on March 04, 2011:

Fascinating. I can't believe I've never heard of this place. Definitely added to my list of places to visit and a great Hub.

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