Crathes Castle

Crathes Castle
Crathes Castle
Part of Aberdeenshire
Near Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Crathes Castle.jpg
Crathes Castle is located in Aberdeen
Location in Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Type Castle
Coordinates 57°03′41″N 2°26′24″W / 57.061483°N 2.439917°W / 57.061483; -2.439917Coordinates: 57°03′41″N 2°26′24″W / 57.061483°N 2.439917°W / 57.061483; -2.439917
Built 16th century

Crathes Castle is a 16th century castle near Banchory in the Aberdeenshire region of Scotland. This harled castle was built by the Burnetts of Leys and was held in that family for almost 400 years. The castle and grounds are presently owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland and are open to the public.



Crathes sits on land given as a gift to the Burnett of Leys family by King Robert the Bruce in 1323.

In the 14th and 15th century the Burnett of Leys built a fortress of timbers on an island they made in the middle of a nearby bog. This method of fortification, known as a crannog, was common in the Late Middle Ages. Construction of the current tower house of Crathes Castle was begun in 1553 but delayed several times during its construction due to political problems during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Crathes castle

It was completed in 1596 by Alexander Burnett of Leys, and an additional wing added in 18th century. Alexander Burnett, who completed the construction of Crathes, began a new project, the early 17th century reconstruction of nearby Muchalls Castle. That endeavour was completed by his son, Sir Thomas Burnett. Crathes Castle served as the ancestral seat of the Burnetts of Leys until gifted to the National Trust for Scotland by the 13th Baronet of Leys, Sir James Burnett in 1951. A fire damaged portions of the castle (in particular the Queen Anne wing) in 1966. Another historically important structure in this region linked to the Burnett of Leys family is Monboddo House.


The castle contains a significant collection of portraits, and intriguing original Scottish renaissance painted ceilings survive in several Jacobean rooms: the Chamber of the Muses, the Chamber of Nine Worthies and the Green Lady's Room. The last of these is said to be haunted by a green lady. A green smoke or mist is said to have been seen by visitors. The ancient jewelled ivory Horn of Leys residing in the great hall above the fireplace, was gifted to the Burnetts by the king along with the castle grounds in 1323

Garden and grounds

The castle estate contains 530 acres (2.1 km²) of woodlands and fields, including nearly four acres (16,000 m²) of walled garden. Within the walled garden are gravel paths with surrounding specimen plants mostly in herbaceous borders. Many of the plants are labelled with taxonomic descriptions. There is also a grass croquet court at a higher terraced level within the walled garden. Ancient topiary hedges of Irish yew dating from 1702 separate the gardens into eight themed areas. Crathes and its grounds are open to tourists throughout the year. A visitors centre provides information about the castle and its surroundings. There is a tea shop on site and a car park.

Crathes Castle
Crathes Castle

See also


Nigel Tranter, The Fortified House in Scotland five volumes, (1962-1971)

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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