The first mention of Esslemont is as the 'manor of Eislemont' in the 14th century. The lands of Esslemont were passed by marriage from the family of Mareschal by marriage of the heiress Janet to Francis le Chen of Straloch in the 14th century. After the castle was burnt in 1493, Henry Cheyne undertook re-building via a king's licence dated 1500. In 1564 Patrick Cheyne was created baron of Esslemont by Queen Mary, who stayed here during her campaign against the Earl of Huntly, and a fortalice and tower were recorded in 1575–1576.
The castle was then destroyed as the result of a feud between the Cheynes and the Hays. The name of the lands, now as 'Essilmounthe', appears in Scottish records in 1609.
The castle ceased to be regularly occupied in 1625, when the estate passed to the Errol family. In 1728 it became the property of Robert Gordon and may have been partially occupied till 1769, when the existing mansion, Esslemont House, was erected in its vicinity.
The castle is roofless and missing large sections of wall which were reused in building sites nearby. Especially noticeable are the missing dressed stones of the windows. The structure is a L Plan castle with a staircase turret and a round tower at the south east angle. The main building seems on the ground floor to have contained the kitchen, with a wide fireplace in the north gable; the rugged edges of the ruined sides of the flue being visible high up in the gable. Though ruined, the remains are clearly on three stories. The Gordon Arms are visible on the exterior of the castle.References:
The Church of St Donatus name refers to Donatus of Zadar, who began construction on this church in the 9th century and ended it on the northeastern part of the Roman forum. It is the largest Pre-Romanesque building in Croatia.
The beginning of the building of the church was placed to the second half of the 8th century, and it is supposed to have been completed in the 9th century. The Zadar bishop and diplomat Donat (8th and 9th centuries) is credited with the building of the church. He led the representations of the Dalmatian cities to Constantinople and Charles the Great, which is why this church bears slight resemblance to Charlemagne"s court chapels, especially the one in Aachen, and also to the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. It belongs to the Pre-Romanesque architectural period.
The circular church, formerly domed, is 27 m high and is characterised by simplicity and technical primitivism.