Castle Leod is the seat of the Clan Mackenzie. The castle is believed to have been built on the site of a very ancient Pictish fort from before the 12th century. The current castle is the result of work carried out in the early 17th century by Sir Roderick Mackenzie. The castle has remained the seat of the Earls of Cromartie ever since.

In 1746 George Mackenzie, 3rd Earl of Cromartie, forfeited the estate, following his support for the ill-fated 1745 Jacobite Uprising. The estates, but not the title, were restored to his son in 1784. The castle was reported to already be in a run-down state earlier in the same century, when the estate was badly debt-ridden.

In the mid-19th century, Castle Leod was completely renovated by the Hay-Mackenzies. Descendents of the 3rd Earl, the Hay-Mackenzies were restored to the earldom of Cromartie when Anne Hay-Mackenzie married George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 3rd Duke of Sutherland in 1861. In 1851 large extensions were added to the north of the castle, which were rebuilt in 1904. The roof was made watertight as recently as 1992. The castle remains the home of the Earl of Cromartie, and is open to the public on a limited number of days.

Castle Leod is a compact L-Plan tower house, built of red sandstone, forms the earliest part of the castle, and may be based on a 15th-century building. An additional section was later added in the re-entrant angle, making the castle square in plan, and accommodating a larger staircase and extra bedrooms. The date 1616 is carved on a dormer window, but it is not known if this date refers to the original phase or the extension. The addition was built over the parapet of the original front, and is more decorative in style.

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Highland, United Kingdom
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Founded: 17th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Nicole Anansi (2 years ago)
Wonderful castle and ancient trees in the garden
Louise A T Ainsworth (3 years ago)
Wish we was able to go when it was open but still ended up with great photos outside it.. But still what it looked like from the series
Casper Stelling (3 years ago)
Super nice castle. Privately owned by original family. Personal guidance by very nice family members and staff. They have great stories to tell.
Matthew Tisdel (3 years ago)
I enjoyed the castle immensely. The Earl lives there and loves to share the history. The other guides were also knowledgeable and very nice.
Graham Wood (3 years ago)
Great Castle very interesting history has a Magic walk around, and had a very friendly chat to lord and Lady Cromarty about their long history and 1745 Culloden.
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