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 castle of La Iruela, small but astonishing, is located on the top of a steep crag in Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. From the castle, impressive views of the surrounding area and of the town can be enjoyed.
The keep dates from the Christian era. It has a square base and small dimensions and is located at the highest part of the crag.
There are some other enclosures within the tower that create a small alcázar which is difficult to access.
In a lower area of the castle, protected with defensive remains of rammed earth and irregular masonry, is an old Muslim farmstead.
After a recent restoration, an open-air theater has been built on La Iruela castle enclosure. This theater is a tribute to the Greek and Classic Eras and holds various artistic and cultural shows throughout the year.
The first traces of human activity in La Iruela area are dated from the Copper Age. An intense occupation continued until the Bronze Age.
Originally, La Iruela (like Cazorla) was a modest farmstead. From the 11th century, a wall and a small fortress were built on the hill to protect the farmers.
Around 1231, don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, conquered La Iruela and made it part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. Over the Muslim fortress, the current fortress was built.
Once the military use of the fortress ended, it was used as cemetery.