IT is a 500-year-old castle where Mary, Queen of Scots, stayed after escaping captivity from a nearby island.

Now historic Cleish Castle in Kinross-shire is on the market at £1.5 million, offering the chance to purchase a property that has played a pivotal role in Scotland’s history.

Mary, Queen of Scots, is believed to have stayed at Cleish Castle shortly after escaping from Lochleven Castle in May 1568.

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The Catholic monarch of Scotland had been imprisoned by protestant nobles after the ascension of her infant son James VI. The property, which includes eight bedrooms and a unique painted library ceiling by Scottish artist Jennifer Merredew, and its 26 acres of land are both steeped in history.

The gardens include a walkway of yew trees dating back to 1620, the oldest in Scotland, while one of the surviving 10ft-thick walls at the castle, in Kinross, is reckoned to date back to the 14th century.

It boasts a catalogue of bonus features including a wine cellar, stables, a dovecote, a wood store, a pottery studio, loft space, tennis court and a stone ruin that could be developed into a cottage Each floor is connected by a spiral staircase – another feature of the castle.

It sits on 26 acres of ground, stables, a tennis court and gardens first laid out in the 1600s.

Malcolm Leslie, from Strutt & Parker who are selling the property, said: “For someone interested in horticulture Cleish Castle would be a dream home. Whilst little remains of the original formal gardens, the yew walk, which has been dated around 1620, is substantially intact. It certainly makes a conversation topic.”