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Cawdor Castle

A Category A Listed Building in Cawdor, Highland

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Latitude: 57.5243 / 57°31'27"N

Longitude: -3.9266 / 3°55'35"W

OS Eastings: 284718

OS Northings: 849870

OS Grid: NH847498

Mapcode National: GBR J8PV.029

Mapcode Global: WH4GF.N4DN

Plus Code: 9C9RG3FF+P9

Entry Name: Cawdor Castle

Listing Name: Cawdor Castle

Listing Date: 26 January 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 332450

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB1728

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Cawdor

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Nairn and Cawdor

Parish: Cawdor

Traditional County: Nairnshire

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Large rectangular courtyard castle, of varying dates,

enclosing original central mid-15th century 5-storey keep

(which incorporates earlier work); 16th century north and

west wings largely re-built 1760-74 to form substantial

L-plan range linked to central keep by square stair tower.

Further mid and late 19th century ranges fill south side of

square and flank curtain walled drawbridge on east side. All

rubble with ashlar dressings.

Centre keep tower has blocked round-headed entrance (now

window) and later regular fenestration. Crenellated parapet

carried up flush from wallhead, which is delineated by row of water-spouts; facetted angle bartizans corbelled out from

each corner, rising with conical slated roofs and gargoyle

water-spouts; wallhead garderobes; gabled caphouse with end


Central tower enclosed at west and north by long 3-storey

ranges (16th century, largely re-built 1760-74) with

pedimented dormers in north; vaulted ground floor with slit

windows; rectangular angle bartizan at NW; regular

fenestration; crowstepped gables. Corbelled round stair

turret with corbelled square crowstepped attic chamber at NE.

Projecting stair tower with similar corbelled attic chamber

at SW.

2-storey mid and later 19th century ranges south and east

(dated 1858 and 1884; architects, Thomas Mackenzie and

Alexander Ross). In east elevation the 1st floor windows

break wallheads in decorative pediments, breaking to flank

centre drawbridge entrance with angle pepperpot bartizans.

Multi-pane fenestration; crowsteps; corniced end and ridge

stacks; slate roofs.

Interior: original 1st floor great hall in centre keep, with

access from wheel stair, and with mural garderobe and

corbelled beamed ceiling; iron yett at ground floor entrance.

1672-4 great hall with joggled chimney lintel, corbelled

beamed ceiling and later gallery.

Blue room with early 18th century panelling, ornate chimney

piece dated 1667 with caryatids; moulded cornices; access to

bartizan at NW angle. Similar deep moulded cornices in yellow

drawing room.

Dining room with ornate chimney piece with date 1550 and

intertwined leaves.

Large square stair well with stone stairs. Range of vaulted

rooms in undercroft, including vaulted kitchen with well.

Statement of Interest

Built for Calders, Thanes of Calder or Cawdor from 11th

century, to whom a licence to build a castle was granted in

1454. Muriel Calder, heiress of Cawdor, was ward of 2nd Earl

of Argyll and married in 1510 to his 3rd son, Sir John

Campbell of Muckairn (Argyll) in whose family the property

remains as home of the Earls of Cawdor. Much 17th century

work by masons James and Robert Nicolson of Nairn. Datestone

at 17th century entrance and pediments, 1672 and 1674

respectively each with initials of Hugh Campbell of Cawdor

and Isabel Stewart his wife.

Yett said to have come from Lochindorb Castle.

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