Kildrummy Castle is in a very ruinous state, but it was once an impressive fortress and residence. It was built in the 13th century for the Earls of Mar. King Edward I of England visited the castle twice during it's construction and it has been suggested that his master mason, James of St George, may have been responsible for some of the work. If this is so then by 1306 Edward did not view the castle so favourably. Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, was in open rebellion against the King of England. He sent his wife and daughter to Kildrummy to keep them safe from the English, but they were forced to flee further north when a force led by Edward, Prince of Wales, marched upon the castle. The siege finally ended following an act of treachery by the castle blacksmith who set fire to the building. The entire garrison were executed and Osbourne, the traitorous blacksmith, received his reward of gold, poured molten down his throat.
Lady Christian Bruce successfully defended the castle against an English force in 1335. Following her death the castle was held by Thomas, Earl of Mar. His disloyalty to King David II led the Scottish King to capture the castle and place it under royal control. Over the next century the castle passed in and out of royal possession before being granted to Alexander, first Lord Elphinstone, in 1507. The Elphinstones were resident in the castle until 1626 when it passed to the Erskines. The last of the family to live at the castle was John Erskine, Earl of Mar. He plotted a Jacobite Rising in support of the exiled Pretender to the throne, James Stuart. He was defeated and fled to France, leaving the abandoned castle to fall into ruin.
Centuries of stone robbers have reduced the castle to its foundations in many places, but it once had a tall curtain wall with six round towers at the corners and gate. The Snow Tower, built in the 13th century, had seven storeys of spacious vaulted chambers, and probably served as the main accommodation for the lord and his family. A later 16th century tower house was built by the Elphinstones to provide a more comfortable and modern residence
- Off the A97 west of Kildrummy, ten miles west of Alford
- Kildrummy Castle, Kildrummy, Aberdeenshire, AB33 8RA
- Historic Scotland. Open to public. Entrance fee for non-members.
- For further information visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
View Larger Map