Kinnaird castle has been home to the Carnegie family, the Earls of Southesk, for more than 600 years. In 1400 Duthac Carnegie married Mariota of Kinnaird and the Castle dates from that time. Early records were lost in 1452 when the castle was burnt down after the battle of Brechin. The Carnegies were, for once, on the winning side supporting the King but unfortunately the Earl of Crawford, who was on the losing side, took revenge on those who had fought against him.
The titles came in the 17th century after two consecutive generations served the crown (Lord Carnegie 1616, Earl of Southesk 1633). The Castle’s most famous resident was James, Marquis of Montrose. He married Magdalene, daughter of the 1st Earl, in 1629 and they spent the first 3 years of their married life living here. He achieved great fame by leading the Royal army in the Civil War in the 1640’s, winning numerous victories usually against larger armies. Eventually he was betrayed and captured. He was then taken to Edinburgh where he was hung, drawn and quartered by his great adversary the Earl of Argyll.
The 5th Earl made the mistake of supporting the Old Pretender (who spent one of his last nights in Scotland here) in 1715 before leaving from the port of Montrose, after the failure of his rebellion. The Earl had his titles and lands confiscated.
The estate was bought back by the closest living descendant in 1764 and the Castle transformed by the architect, James Playfair in 1791 into a large but handsome house.
The family titles were regained in 1855 and at that time the 9th Earl employed David Bryce to remodel the house in high Victorian baronial style and it now boasts the largest collection of coats of arms on any private British building.
Only seventy years later, in 1921, the castle was severely damaged by fire and has been rebuilt over the last 80 years giving a chance to add the modern conveniences.
The family names associated with Kinnaird are confusing. Southesk and Carnegie were the titles until the middle of the last century when the current Duke of Fife’s father inherited that title from his aunt who went by the unlikely name of Princess Arthur of Connaught. She was, however, also the Duchess of Fife in her own right. The Dukedom was created when the Earl of Fife married the Princess Royal, daughter of King Edward VII, and it was recreated so that it could pass through the female line when it became clear that there would be no male heir.
On the death of the first Duke it passed, therefore, to his eldest daughter (later Princess Arthur). The Duff family came from the Moray/Banff area and until 100 years ago it held huge estates throughout that area and in Aberdeenshire.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.