Kildrummy Castle is a tower house in the parish of Kildrummy near Braemar in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, about 10 miles west of Ballater.
History of Kildrummy Castle
The castle was originally constructed by John Erskine, Earl of Mar around 1420 and it has been inhabited by various earls of Mar since then. The castle has only been besieged twice and saw little action with both sieges being brief. From 1830 to 1935 the castle was in the hands of the trustees for William George Grantham who had no heir and so it passed to his niece Mrs J L Maitland-Forbes. The castle was then sold to businessman and politician Robert Torrance in 1935, who later gifted it to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
The present ruins date from the 16th century when Patrick Stewart, the first Earl of Mar, built a new tower and courtyard house on the site of the medieval tower. Five generations of the Stewart family occupied Kildrummy Castle until John Erskine, Earl of Mar granted it to his son-in-law James Carnegie and his heirs in 1602. The 8th Earl then began building a formal entrance and courtyard which were not finished until 1650 when he died during the Civil War.
The castle then came into the possession of General George Monck, the Duke of Albemarle, who used it as a base for Royalist operations in Aberdeenshire. After the Restoration the castle was returned to the Earl of Mar who built a new formal entrance and courtyard at his own expense. Ownership passed down through subsequent generations until it came to William George Grantham in 1830. The Torrance family purchased Kildrummy Castle from Mrs. J L Maitland-Forbes in 1935 and sold it to James Houston in 1976. In 2002 Ron and Liz Watson purchased Kildrummy Castle from Mr Houston’s estate.
The Watson family has been in residence, restoring and maintaining the castle, since 2002. It is not open to the general public but is decorated for Christmas and Easter. Kildrummy Castle was the location of Prince William’s stag night where he celebrated his last night as a single man before his marriage on 29 April 2011.
Visiting Kildrummy Castle
Kildrummy Castle is an excellent day out. The grounds are beautiful, although one side of the castle is a bit sad and crumbling. The interior is beautifully decorated and gives the visitor an idea as to what life was like for the laird of Kildrummy. The tower is an added feature. Be sure to check out the newly installed display on King James IV, who stayed at Kildrummy in 1507.
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