Craigievar Castle is a magnificent and imposing old tower house with a fantastic atmospheric and period interior, long held by the powerful Forbes family and set in beautiful wooded grounds in the rolling hills of Aberdeenshire near Alford in northeast Scotland.
Aberdeen & Gordon: About 4.5 miles south and west of Alford, on minor roads west of A980 1.5 miles north of junction with B9119, north of Rumblie Burn, at Craigievar Castle.
NTS NJ 566095 OS: 37 AB33 8JF
OPEN: Castle open Apr-Jun & Sep, Fri-Tue 11.00-16.45 (last entry); Jul & Aug, daily 11.00-16.45 (last entry); grounds, open all year. Weddings and events. Holiday cottages.
Tel: 01339 883365 Web: www.nts.org.uk
A well-preserved and picturesque castle located among rolling hills, Craigievar Castle is a massive L-plan tower house of seven storeys, and was completed in 1626. Turrets, gables, chimney-stacks and corbelling crown the upper storeys; in contrast to the lower storeys, which are completely plain.
The walls are rounded at the corners, and are harled and pink-washed. The square tower, in the re-entrant angle, is crowned by a balustraded parapet enclosing a flat roof, with a caphouse topped by an ogee roof. The castle stood in a small courtyard, with round towers at the corners, one of which survives.
The entrance, in the re-entrant angle, leads to a vestibule to three vaulted chambers, and to a straight stair in the centre of the house, which rises only to the first floor. The hall, with a private chamber, occupies the first floor, and is a magnificent vaulted apartment, with mixed groin- and barrel-vaulting, and a fine plaster ceiling. A narrow stair leads down to the wine-cellar, and there is a small minstrels’ gallery. The hall has a fine large fireplace with ornamental stone carving, and there is a laird’s lug, accessed from a narrow entrance in the adjoining passageway.
The floors above are occupied by many private chambers, reached by five turret stairs. Many of these rooms are panelled, and there is also good contemporary plasterwork.
The property belonged to the Mortimer family from 1457 or earlier, and they held it until 1610. They began the castle, but ran out of money, and it was sold to the Forbeses of Menie, who finished the building in 1626.
William Forbes, a zealous Covenanter, was responsible for the putting down of Gilderoy the freebooter and his band, and having them hanged in Edinburgh. He commanded a troop of horse in the Civil War, and was Sheriff of Aberdeen. Forbes of Brux and Paton of Grandhome, who were both Jacobites, hid in the laird’s lug to avoid capture. The castle was taken over by The National Trust for Scotland in 1963, and the Forbeses of Craigievar are recorded as now living near Castle Douglas in Galloway.
Craigievar is said to be haunted by a Gordon, who was murdered by being pushed from one of the windows of the Blue Room by Sir John Forbes – although it appears this window formerly had bars. Another ghost is said to be a fiddler, drowned in a well in the kitchen, who only appears to members of the Forbes family.
22 Edinburgh Road
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