Cullen House is a large house, now divided into fourteen separate dwellings, about 1 kilometre south west of the coastal town of Cullen in Moray. Originally built between 1600 and 1602, incorporating some of the fabric of a medieval building on the site, it was the seat of the Ogilvies of Findlater, who went on to become the Earls of Findlater and Seafield, and remained in their family until 1982. The house has been extended and remodelled several times since 1602, by prominent architects such as William Adam, his sons James and John Adam, and David Bryce. It has been described by the architectural historian Charles McKean as 'one of the grandest houses in Scotland'.
The house sits in an expansive estate, enlarged in the 1820s when the entire village of Cullen, save for Cullen Old Church, was demolished to make way for improvements to the grounds by Lewis Grant-Ogilvy, 5th Earl of Seafield. A new village, closer to the coast, was constructed for the inhabitants.
Cullen House was designated a Category A listed building in 1972, by which time it had fallen into a state of disrepair. Its contents were sold in 1975, and in 1982 it was purchased by Kit Martin, a specialist in saving historic buildings, who worked with the local architect Douglas Forrest to convert it into fourteen individual dwellings, while retaining much of the original interior of the building. The house was badly damaged by fire in 1987, and underwent an extensive programme of restoration that lasted until 1989.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.