Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Terpersie Castle

Terpersie Castle is a 16th-century tower house in Tullynessle. The small Z-plan tower house was constructed in 1561 by the Gordon family. In 1665 it was restored after burning down. After 1885 it was abandoned, and stood in ruins during most of the 20th century. In the 1980s the castle was restored as a residence by architects William Cowie Partnership. Terpersie is one of the earliest known Z-plan castles, defin ...
Founded: 1561 | Location: Tullynessle, United Kingdom

Udny Castle

The exact construction date of Udny Castle is unknown, but its foundations probably date from the late 14th or early 15th century. The castle was abandoned sometime around 1775 then repair work was undertaken in 1801. In 1964, restoration work was begun on the original tower house and the mansion house was demolished.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Pitmedden, United Kingdom

Auchterhouse Castle

Auchterhouse Castle is a 13th century castle located northwest of Dundee, Angus. The original castle was enclosed with walls, towers, and contained a keep. The castle may have been in ownership of the Ramsay family, who were hereditary Sheriffs of Angus. Sir William Wallace is alleged to have stayed at the castle and one its towers was named in his honour. King Edward I of England spent the night of the 20 July 1303 at th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dundee, United Kingdom

Balnagown Castle

There has been a castle on the site of current Balnagown Castle since the 14th century, although the present building was remodelled in the 18th and 19th centuries. Balnagown is the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan Ross. In the early 14th century, a castle was begun at Balnagown by Hugh, Mormaer (Earl) of Ross. Hugh was husband of Maud, sister of King Robert the Bruce, although after Hugh"s death in 1333, his fa ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Kildary, United Kingdom

Whitefield Castle

Whitefield Castle is a ruined L-plan tower-house on the hill above the village of Kirkmichael in Strath Ardle. Built in the 12th century by Malcolm Canmore as a hunting lodge, it was expanded in 1577 by the Spalding family. It is now ruinous. The castle also has a ley tunnel legend, a tradition often found associated with ancient residences. This tunnel was said to link up with nearby Ashintully Castle.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Blairgowrie and Rattray, United Kingdom

Beaufort Castle

The present Beaufort castle is a Baronial style mansion built in 1880, but incorporates older building work. There has been a castle on the site since the 12th century. Beaufort is the traditional seat of the Lords Lovat. The earliest mention of the site, as Downie or Dounie Castle, occurs in the reign of Alexander I (1106–1124), when a siege took place. The original castle was built by the Byset family. The castle ...
Founded: 1880 | Location: Beauly, United Kingdom

Dalcross Castle

Dalcross Castle is a classic Scottish tower house complete with a beamed Great Hall and large fireplace, a stone spiral main staircase, a secret staircase, turret rooms, shot holes and arrow slits and leaded windows in the Sitting Room. Guests have the use of the beautifully landscaped gardens. Built by Simon, first Lord Lovat, in 1620 and held by the Lovat Frasers until 1703 Dalcross Castle then became the home of the M ...
Founded: 1620 | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Dunbeath Castle

Dunbeath castle is first recorded on the rocky peninsula at Dunbeath in 1428, when the lands belonged to the Earl of Caithness. The first recorded laird was Alexander Sutherland. It later became the property of the Clan Sinclair through the marriage of the daughter of Alexander Sutherland to William Sinclair (1410–1484), the first Sinclair Earl of Caithness. The Sinclairs replaced the earlier structure with a four-store ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Castle Grant

Castle Grant was the former seat of the Clan Grant chiefs of Strathspey in Highlands. The castle is a Z-plan tower house that dates from the fifteenth century. The lands had been held by the Clan Comyn but passed to the Grants in the fifteenth century and it became their main stronghold. Although the Grants were Protestants they joined James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose during the Scottish Civil War in the 1640s. The ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Castle Leod

Castle Leod is the seat of the Clan Mackenzie. The castle is believed to have been built on the site of a very ancient Pictish fort from before the 12th century. The current castle is the result of work carried out in the early 17th century by Sir Roderick Mackenzie. The castle has remained the seat of the Earls of Cromartie ever since. In 1746 George Mackenzie, 3rd Earl of Cromartie, forfeited the estate, following his ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Moniack Castle

Moniack Castle is a tower house built in 1580 by members of the Clan Fraser. Today the castle grounds comprise a winery, which is still owned and operated by Frasers. The L-plan castle has been altered many times since its construction. The crenellated parapet was added in 1804 and the castle was extended in the 1830s. The interiors include a Roman Catholic chapel. In the grounds of the castle is the Balblair Stone, a Pic ...
Founded: 1580 | Location: Inverness, United Kingdom

Kilcoy Castle

Kilcoy Castle was built around 1580 by the Stewart family, and completed by Alexander Mackenzie, third son of Colin Cam Mackenzie of Kintail around 1618. As a result of his marriage (contract 15 August 1611) to the widow of Sir James Stewart of Kilcoy, he had a charter of the lands of Kilcoy dated 18 July 1616 and a further charter of the Barony of Kilcoy dated 29 January 1618. The estates passed through the male line of ...
Founded: 1580 | Location: Tore, United Kingdom

Birse Castle

Birse Castle is located in the Forest of Birse, Aberdeenshire. The original structure was a square three-storey tower house with turrets and a corbelled circular tower at the south east. The building is owned by Viscount Cowdry, Dunecht House, Dunecht, Aberdeen. The castle was built about 1600 for the Gordons of Cluny. When the Gordons built Birse Castle, they encroached upon The Forest of Birse, which consisted of about ...
Founded: 1600 | Location: Forest of Birse, United Kingdom

Cairnbulg Castle

Cairnbulg Castle is a z-plan castle situated in Cairnbulg, Aberdeenshire. Originally known as Philorth Castle, it was built in the early 14th century, destroyed in the winter of 1308–1309 in the Wars of Independence, and re-built by the Fraser family in 1380. Subsequently, a courtyard and outbuildings were added to the main tower. It is now open to the public by appointment only. Flora Fraser, 21st Lady Saltoun ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Cairnbulg, United Kingdom

Cluny Castle

Cluny Castle was originally built c.1604 by Sir Thomas Gordon as a Z-plan castle replacing either a house or small peel tower. Owned by three separate branches of Gordon families over the centuries, it was used to shelter Jacobite rebels in the mid-18th century. Extensive additions were made in 1820 to the design of architect John Smith when it was in the ownership of Colonel John Gordon. Two wings of the castl ...
Founded: 1604 | Location: Cluny, United Kingdom

Hatton Castle

Hatton Castle, formerly known as Balquholly Castle, origins from the early 1500s. Purchased by Alexander Duff of Hatton in 1709, the ownership has remained with members of the family into the 21st century. Construction of the present castellated mansion began in 1812 and was completed by 1814; it was at this time the name was changed to Hatton Castle. It has a round tower at each corner and incorporates sections of th ...
Founded: 1812-1814 | Location: Turriff, United Kingdom

Kinnairdy Castle

Kinnairdy Castle is built on land that belonged to the Innes family from the late 14th century; an earlier tower was probably built in about 1420, that replaced a wooden motte and bailey structure. The castle was sold by the Innes family to Sir James Crichton of Frendraught in 1629. Subsequently it came to the Reverend John Gregory in 1647, then passed to his brother David, a doctor who has been claimed to be const ...
Founded: 1420 | Location: Aberchirder, United Kingdom

Lauriston Castle

Once a royal fortress, Lauriston Castle can claim to be one of the oldest privately owned and inhabited castles in the region. By tradition, it was the stronghold of Giric, or Gregory the Great, one of the last of the Pictish kings (AD 878–889). The site of his church of Ecclesgreig is nearby and he gave his Latin name, Ciricius, to St. Cyrus. Lauriston’s first charter is dated 1243 and it soon developed into a c ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: St Cyrus, United Kingdom

Pittulie Castle

Pittulie Castle is an oblong tower house probably dating from the late 16th century. The present castle probably replaced a previous castle on the site. It is thought that the castle was built for the marriage of Alexander Fraser and Margaret Abernethy of Saltoun in 1596. The Cumines acquired and enlarged the property. It was purchased by Sir William Forbes towards the end of the 18th century, but subsequently aban ...
Founded: 1596 | Location: Rosehearty, United Kingdom

Ardgowan Castle

Ardgowan Castle is located in the grounds of Ardgowan House near Inverkip. In 1306, Inverkip was besieged by supporters of Robert Bruce, led by Robert Boyd of Cunningham. In 1403, King Robert III granted the lands of Ardgowan to his natural son, Sir John Stewart. The castle is dated to the late 15th century. In 1667 Archibald Stewart was created a baronet. The 3rd baronet married, in 1730, Helen Houston, heiress ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Inverkip, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre

Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.

Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.

Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.