Braemar Castle

Braemar, United Kingdom

From the Late Middle Ages the Braemar castle was a stronghold of the Earls of Mar. The present castle was constructed in 1628 by John Erskine, 18th Earl of Mar as a hunting lodge and to counter the rising power of the Farquharsons, replacing an older building, which was the successor of nearby Kindrochit Castle, which dates from the 11th century AD. The siting of Kindrochit Castle was based upon the strategic location of this site relative to historic crossings of the Grampian Mounth.

An important garrison after the 1745 Jacobite uprising, Braemar Castle had been attacked and burned by John Farquharson, the Black Colonel of Inverey in 1689 during the first Jacobite uprising, to prevent it being used as a garrison by Government troops. In 1716 the castle was forfeited to the Crown following the Earl of Mar's leadership of the 1715 Jacobite uprising. The castle and lands were purchased by John Farquharson, 9th Laird of Invercauld but the building was left in ruins until 1748 when it was leased to the government, now to serve as a garrison for Hanoverian troops.

In 1831 the military garrison was withdrawn and the castle returned to the Farquharson clan. Restoration to provide a family home began under the 12th Laird of Invercauld who entertained Queen Victoria there when she attended the Braemar Gatherings in the grounds of the Castle.

Today Braemar castle is open to the public.

Structure

The building is a five storey L-plan castle with a star-shaped curtain wall of six sharp-angled salients, and with three storey angle turrets. The central tower enfolds a round stair tower and is built of granite covered with harl. The main entrance retains an original iron yett, and many of the windows are protected by heavy iron grilles.

On the ground floor are stone-vaulted rooms which contained the guardroom, ammunition store and original kitchen. These are built out into the salients of the outer wall, and in Victorian times a second kitchen was added adjoining the staff rooms. In the floor of a passage, an iron grill provided access to the Laird's Pit, a dark hole used as a dungeon.

On each of the upper floors a large room and a small room occupied the two arms of the tower. On the first floor are the Dining Room and Morning Room, whilst on the floor above is the Laird's Day Room, entered by a curved door. Opposite is the Rose Room, and between the two is a small bathroom installed in 1901. In the main wing at this level is the Drawing Room, containing graffiti incised on the window-shutters by government troops. On the third floor is the Four Poster Bedroom, whilst on the fourth floor lie the Ladies Guest BedroomGentlemans Guest Bedroom and the Principal Bedroom. These upper floors were used by the Farquharson family in the latter years of their visits.

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Details

Founded: 1628
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Neil Howarth (3 years ago)
Only a small castle but very nice and run really well with informative guides around to give you interesting facts.
Karin Waske (3 years ago)
Castle where nearby the Highland games take place. Entrance is £10 per person for 9 rooms. We decided not to take the offer. The grounds look nice though and it is next to the road so maybe worth a stop.
David Findlay (3 years ago)
Very interesting place. It's a pity the gift shop was closed. Definitely worth a visit.
Martin (3 years ago)
Interesting castle staffed by volunteers from the community. Self guided tours are complemented by knowledgeable room guides. Furnished rooms felt lived in rather than staged - which we liked. Go soon or be prepared to wait. The castle being an external restoration at the end of August 2021 which could take at least 18 months to complete
robb saban (3 years ago)
Excellent on every perspective. Good guide, informative and friendly. Great for children and adults. Highly recommend.
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