Earlshall Castle was built by Sir William Bruce, a survivor of the Battle of Flodden, in 1546. One member of the family died at the battle of Worcester in 1651. Another, Sir Andrew, gained himself the name “Bloody Bruce” by hacking off the hands and head of Covenanter Richard Cameron after defeating him at the battle of Airds Moss during the Killing Time.

The castle became abandoned and ruinous, until it was restored by Sir Robert Lorimer in 1892, for R W R Mackenzie, a bleacher from Perth. It has passed through several hands since, and is still occupied.[1] The tapestries, paintings and Lorimer furniture have been dispersed.

There is a main block of three storeys and a garret. There is a large tower at one corner, with a small stair-turret in the angle with the main block. On the other corner a round stair tower is corbelled out to square; at the top is a watch-chamber. The dormer pediments are decorated by carved heraldic devices.

The vaulted basement is reached through the entrance in the stair-tower. On the first floor is the hall, which has panelled walls, and a large carved fireplace, 2.7 metres wide.

The second floor ceiling is decorated in tempera; this dates from 1620. The decoration includes paintings of an ostrich and an armadillo, and mottoes such as “A NICE WYF AND A BACK DOORE OFT MAKETH A RICH MAN POORE”. The ceiling was carefully taken down and the missing parts replaced during the restoration by Lorimer.

The main block, with a slightly higher wing, occupies two sides of the courtyard; there is a separate tower with three storey, the lower two vaulted, and some buildings dated to the 17th century. The courtyard is entered through an archway, dated 1546, bearing the arms of Sir William Bruce.

There is a formal garden, replanted since the restoration of 1892. It has yew hedges and topiary.

As of 2019, the castle was a private residence with ten bedrooms and eight reception rooms, including the Long Galley with a famous painted ceiling, restored by Sir Robert Lorimer.

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Founded: 1546
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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