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.

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."

A markergifford east lothian -
Gifford, Haddington EH41 4, UK
[get directions]

Gifford Lies Just outside Edinburgh

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Comments 23 comments

Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

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.

Silver Fish profile image

Silver Fish 5 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland Author

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

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

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!

jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 5 years ago from UK

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. :)

Silver Fish profile image

Silver Fish 5 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland Author

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

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

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

Silver Fish profile image

Silver Fish 5 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland Author

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

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

Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 5 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

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.

Silver Fish profile image

Silver Fish 5 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland Author

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.

crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

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

Silver Fish profile image

Silver Fish 5 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland Author

Thank you crystolite.

sun goddess profile image

sun goddess 5 years ago from davao city, philippines

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

navasri 5 years ago

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.....

gramarye profile image

gramarye 5 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

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

Silver Fish profile image

Silver Fish 5 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland Author

Thanks for your lovely comments.

Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK

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

Voted up and interesting.

Silver Fish profile image

Silver Fish 4 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland Author


Keiran 3 years ago

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

Silver Fish profile image

Silver Fish 3 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland Author

Fantastic Keiran- what an adventure!!

DaffodilSky profile image

DaffodilSky 3 years ago from Cardiff, Wales, UK

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

AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 3 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

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

newbizmau profile image

newbizmau 2 years ago from Mobile, AL

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

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