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.

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.”