By the time Stephen Leach and his family bought Seton Castle in East Lothian, Scotland in 2007, the property was at the tail end of nearly 800 years of aristocratic occupancy.

Originally the site of Seton Palace, the Renaissance structure played host to Mary Queen of Scots, who reportedly played golf on the palace grounds. But after the Jacobite rebellion, the building fell into disrepair. In the late 18th century, Alexander MacKenzie bought the property and hired the famous architect Robert Adam to build a new mansion. To do so, the palace was razed and its stones were repurposed in Adam’s new house.

Mackenzie died a few years after it was completed, at which point the “castle,” set directly on the palace’s site, was acquired by the noble Wemyss family, which then held onto it for more than two centuries. It was sold in 2003 to a developer who updated the property and put it back on the market.

When Leach moved in, he and his family were able to occupy a home built with stones that had been cut at the same time Dante was writing the Divine Comedy.

“We were looking for something of substance,” says Leach, a tech entrepreneur who started a series of companies with his wife Heather. “But before we bought it, if you told my wife or myself that we were going to own a castle, it’s pretty unlikely that we would have agreed with you.” After touring the house, “we fell in love with the place,” Leach says, and bought it for a reported £5 million (then about $10 million).

Twelve years later, the family has put it on the market for £8 million ($9.7 million), listing it with Savills. “We’re spending less and less time there,” Leach says. “It’s time to move on.”

Time Capsule
Because the house had stayed with the same owners since its construction, it was still something of a time capsule when Leach purchased it.

“We’re very lucky that the building was in the same family for 200 years,” he says. “It really has been unmolested.”

Adam, an architect credited with bringing neoclassicism to English country houses, designed the house inside and out, and many of his decorative elements are still in place.

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