Hatton Castle stands on the lower part of Hatton Hill, to the south of Newtyle. The lands were given to Sir William Olifard (8th chief) in 1317 by Robert the Bruce. The castle was built in 1575, commissioned by Laurence, fourth Lord Oliphant (1527–1593). Hatton Castle is unusual in that it contains a scale and platt staircase incorporated into its original construction. Such a feature was normally only included in larger constructions.

A variety of people lived in Hatton Castle after the Oliphants, including at least one bishop. Hatton Castle was de-roofed in about 1720, after the 1715 Jacobite rising, when it was replaced by the Italian-style Belmont Castle in Meigle, which is now a Church of Scotland residential home. Hatton Castle gradually became encrusted by ivy and a home to pigeons and jackdaws, until it was sold by the Kinpurnie Estate for reconstruction. This has been done faithfully, initially by Roderick Oliphant of Oliphant, yr and his elder brother Richard Oliphant of that Ilk (34th chief), so its charm remains much as it was in 1575, including glass hand-made in Edinburgh, in the leaded windows.

Hatton Castle is now a family home, and the present owners have continued the restoration.



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Founded: 1575
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Regi Johnston (14 months ago)
Showed up here by accident, never realised it was a residence, was met by a really nice man who pointed us towards pitcur castle, don't think he believed us when we said we were there by accident
Martin Òfarraidh (17 months ago)
Fantastic hosts and amazing place, the grounds are stunning the castle is phenomenal, I could live here!
Charlie Robertson (18 months ago)
Beautiful place
Chris White (2 years ago)
Such a sense of history in a delightful family home.
Chris White (2 years ago)
Such a sense of history in a delightful family home.
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Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.