Ballindalloch Castle has been the family home of Macpherson-Grants since 1546. The first tower of the Z plan castle was built in 1546.
In 1590 the widow of the Grant of Ballindalloch married John Gordon, son Thomas Gordon of Cluny. John Grant, former Tutor of Ballindaloch, the administrator of the estate, killed one of John Grant's servants. This started a feud between the Earl of Huntly and the Earl of Moray. The Earl of Huntly went to Ballindalloch in November 1590 to arrest the Tutor. The Chief of Grant, John Grant of Freuchie promised to deliver the Tutor and his accomplices, accused of murder and other crimes, to Huntly Castle. However, Freuchie joined with the Tutor's men and the Earl of Moray, and came to Darnaway Castle, and there shot pistols at Huntly's officers and cannon from the castle, and killed John Gordon, brother of the Laird of Cluny.
After it was plundered and burned by James Graham, the first Marquess of Montrose, it was restored in 1645.
Extensions were added in 1770 by General James Grant of the American Wars of Independence (whose ghost is said to haunt the castle) and in 1850 by the architect Thomas MacKenzie. Further extensions carried out in 1878 were mostly demolished during modernisations enacted in 1965. It has been continuously occupied by the Russell and Macpherson-Grant families throughout its existence.
The castle houses an important collection of 17th century Spanish paintings. The dining room of Ballindalloch is said to be haunted by a ghost known as The Green Lady.
The castle grounds contain a 20th-century rock garden and a 17th-century dovecote. The rivers Spey and Avon flow through the grounds, offering excellent fishing. The famous Aberdeen Angus cattle herd resides in the castle estate.
Today, the castle is still occupied by the Macpherson-Grant family. It is open to tourists during the summer months and a number of workshops on its grounds are in active use.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.