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Barnes Castle, Athelstaneford, East Lothian.
Barnes Castle, constructed but incompleted by Sir John Seton, Lord Barnes of Justice in 1587. © Andrew Spratt 2002

The castle of Barnes, with it's symmetrical square design and courtyard was very unusual in it's time and very advanced. Sir John Seton had it constructed as a grand country residence and to be his principal seat when away from court, where he spent the majority of his time at the Royal court in Edinburgh and in-residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The lands of Barnes were long held by the Seton's, and the Barony of Barnes was erected by George Seton, 7th Lord Seton, for his third son, Sir John.  Sir John Seton of Barnes like his younger brother Chancellor Seton, had been educated both in Scotland, France and Italy, before himself proceeding to Spain.  There he served initially on Royal dispatches from his father's embassy in France, later as a diplomat in the Royal Court of King Philip II of Spain, and rose to become Master of that King's Royal Household and of the King's BedChamber, and later created a Knight of the Order of Jago (or Iago).

He was born in 1553, and has been described as a brave man, well travelled and well educated.  He was brought up at the court of King Philip II of Spain and rose to become a knight of the Kings personal bodyguard and master of his Household.  So distinguished was he that he was summoned home by King James VI & I to serve in his Royal Court.  He was given the office of Treasurer, as well as Master of the Horse, and Master of the Kings Household for life, and was vice Prior of Pluscarder, and proprietor of Hailes Castle and that of Garleton Castle, while he waited for his Castle at Barnes to be built. 

In 1588 he was admitted an Extraordinary of the College of Justice, though he died only a few short years later, and his castle of Barnes then, was never completed.  Later, from his descent, this branch assumed the title of the Earl of Dunfermline, forfeit, which is still maintained to this day.

Sir John Seton was proprietor of most of the land around Aimsfield.  He died in 1594 and was buried in the nave of the old church of Haddington, where a grand carved monument was to be seen in the Seton's of the Barnes' burying place. The farm of Amisfield Mains, formerly called Harperdean Mains was originally two farms.  The west part of it was called "The Barnes", and Amisfield Mains formed part of the estate of Seton's of the Barnes.

The Seton's of Barnes later became generally known as the Seton's of Hailes (or Hallis) after their acquisition of that Castle from the heir s of Hercules Stewart, and who also had later acquired Crichton Castle, albeit briefly, from James Stewart, brother of Lord John Stewart, Prior of Coldingham.

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  The Seton's of Barnes
  The Barony of Barnes
  Barnes Castle Gallery
   Castle Floorplan
   Barnes Ruin Tour
   The Interior
  The Order of St. Jago
  Large Castle Drawing
   Gov. James Seton
  History of St. Vincent
   Seeton of Nova Scotia
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