Kinnaird Castle

Brechin, United Kingdom

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.



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Brechin, United Kingdom
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Founded: 15th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mairi Mackinnon (8 months ago)
Superb family holiday here in the supremely comfortable and well-set-up Lauderdale apartment. We really appreciated the mix of well-loved and well-cared-for furniture, beautifully chosen wallpapers and curtains, fascinating historical prints and thoroughly contemporary comforts (blissful beds, generous bathrooms, smartly planned and capacious kitchen). It was a treat to walk around the estate of a morning or evening, and to find so many good excursions nearby: NTS House of Dun, Crathes and Castle Fraser; seabirds, wildflowers and swimming at St Cyrus, then on to Dunottar and Stonehaven; a day in Dundee, the McManus Galleries, V&A and Discovery; the 'blue door walk' between Edzell and Fettercairn. Fresh lobster and crab from Johnshaven, and chanterelles from beside the North Esk - delicious. The But'n'Ben also did us proud. Many thanks to Vicky and team for being so welcoming and helpful. Back soon!
Ashlee Hathaway (13 months ago)
What a beautiful estate filled with really wonderful people. The castle itself was stunning. We stayed in the Lauderdale Apartment and it was very comfortable. I wish we could have stayed longer. Lovely walks, super peaceful and so beautiful. Everyone we interacted with was absolutely lovely. I hope to visit again.
Kattak B (14 months ago)
When I made the reservation I had no idea how beautiful this property would be. You really don't get the grand scale from the pictures. Great communication, very private, close to town....blew my mind
Ahmed El Araby (15 months ago)
Loved my stay at Kinnaird Castle, unfortunately I was there only for two days but it’s definitely a place that I will visit again. Highlight of the stay was seeing Red Deers nearby for the first time.
Roman Šták (2 years ago)
I is great place for quiet walk. There are few herds of deer in the area to be seen. Lots of pheasant freely roaming around so dogs should be kept on closely monitoring all the time.
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