The lands of Mugdock were a property of the Grahams from the mid-13th century, when David de Graham of Dundaff acquired them from the Earl of Lennox. It is possible that the castle was built by his descendant, Sir David de Graham (d. 1376), or by his son in 1372. In 1458, the lands were erected into the Barony of Mugdock. Later, in 1505, the Grahams were created Earls of Montrose.

The original castle may have been shield-shaped on plan, comprising towers arranged around a courtyard, and linked by curtain walls and ranges of buildings. The castle stood on a natural, steep-sided mound formed of hard volcanic rock. Of the early castle, only the south-west tower remains complete, and forms the most recognisable feature of the ruins. The narrow tower is of four storeys, with an entrance on the first floor, accessed via exterior steps on the east side. Inside the basement is vaulted, and a single room occupies each storey. On the outside, a line of corbels projects the two upper storeys out from the lower levels, giving the tower a distinctive 'top-heavy' appearance. The only other remains are the basement of the north-west tower, part of the gatehouse, and linking sections of curtain wall.

The castle was extended in the mid-15th century, probably around the time that the barony was created. An outer wall was built to enclose the majority of the mound as an outer courtyard. This courtyard had its main entrance to the south, adjacent to the south-west tower. Inside the courtyard are the ruins of various stone buildings, mainly dating from the 16th century. These include a chapel at the north extent of the courtyard, and a domestic range at the south-west. Much of the outer curtain wall has also disappeared, although the southern section remains.

A terraced walled garden, incorporating a summer house, was built to the east of the castle in the 1820s. Local historian John Guthrie Smith (1834–1894), a relative of the Smith family of nearby Craigend Castle, leased the house from 1874. He had the 17th-century mansion demolished, and commissioned a Scottish baronial style house to be built in the ruins of the old castle. It was designed by architects Cambell Douglas & Sellars, and was extended to designs by James Sellars in the 1880s.

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Founded: c. 1372
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Gordon Paterson (2 months ago)
Nice and peaceful park to visit with family and friends. Lovely semi woodland walks around the estate. The children's playpark and adventure playground keep the kids entertained for a while.
macedonboy (3 months ago)
Ruined castle of Clan Graham. There are several information boards in around the ruins, which makes the visit more enjoyable, knowing what you're looking at.
Lynn S-W (4 months ago)
Lovely wee walk through the woods and past the pond, then up to the castle. A shame people can't respect the signs telling them to not climb on the castle walls and it more and take their picnic rubbish home.
David Parker (4 months ago)
The castle ruins are amazing and loads of information boards relating to the castles history.
John G. Howard (10 months ago)
What magical place. Never forget! Historical home of Clan Graham. A clan with not one but two War Heros! Ser John de Graham, my namesake, for one!
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