History in Structure

Aboyne Castle

A Category B Listed Building in Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.0846 / 57°5'4"N

Longitude: -2.7831 / 2°46'59"W

OS Eastings: 352636

OS Northings: 799558

OS Grid: NO526995

Mapcode National: GBR WR.7MCM

Mapcode Global: WH7NJ.66Z7

Plus Code: 9C9V36M8+RQ

Entry Name: Aboyne Castle

Listing Name: Aboyne Castle, Including Gateway, Courtyard and Boundary Walls to North, and Ancillary Structures

Listing Date: 24 November 1972

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 334107

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB3122

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200334107

Location: Aboyne and Glen Tanar

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Parish: Aboyne And Glen Tanar

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Tagged with: Castle

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Rebuilt 1671; later additions and alterations; restoration in later 19th century by George Truefitt; remodelled Ian Begg, 1986. 3-storey, basement and attic, T-plan baronial tower house with angle tower to NW and 4-storey basement and attic tower to N. Harled and lime washed. Eaves course; crowstepped gables.

S ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 5-bay; small-pane glazed timber door off-centre to right of basement floor, irregular fenestration to flanking bays; irregular fenestration to principal floor; shouldered chimneybreast corbelled out off-centre to left through 2nd and 3rd floors breaking eaves; irregular fenestration to remaining floors.

E ELEVATION: symmetrical; gabled; regular fenestration to each floor.

N (ENTRANCE): asymmetrical; 3-bay; basement floor obscured by advanced boarded timber walkway. Gabled 4-storey tower to bay to left advanced with irregular fenestration, angle turrets; 3 regularly placed windows to 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors; ogee-roofed stair tower to re-entrant angle to right with weather-cock finial; decorative finely finished doorway to principal floor of left return, reached by stone steps and flanked to right by window; window to centre of each storey, with heraldic panel between 2nd and 3rd windows; ogee-roofed stair tower to re-entrant angle to left with decorative ironwork finial. Centre bay recessed, window off-centre to left off principal floor, regular fenestration to upper floors. Circular-plan 1671 tower advanced to bay to right, gabled upper storey corbelled out to form square-plan, irregular fenestration; stair tower to re-entrant angle to left.

W ELEVATION: 3-bay; asymmetrical; 2 gabled bays to right, window to centre of basement floor, regular fenestration to remaining bays, timber balcony to 3rd floor on timber brackets. Circular-plan 1671 tower advanced to bay to left, regular fenestration, gableted window breaking eaves to attic floor.

Variety of small-pane timber sash and case windows. Grey slate roof with tiled ridge. Coped, harled gablehead and wallhead stacks.

INTERIOR: not seen 1999.

GATEWAY, COURTYARD, BOUNDARY WALLS AND ANCILLARY STRUCTURE: harled wall with flat coping enclosing courtyard to N of castle. Round-arched gateway bearing Huntly coat of arms with angle bartizans to E of courtyard. Rectangular-plan ancillary structure to NE of courtyard, 4 basket-arched openings with boarded timber doors to ground floor, flanked to left by window, window to centre of 1st floor; boarded timber door to right of 1st floor reached by timber walkway; 3 regularly placed windows to left and right returns. Crowstepped gables; grey slate roof; gablehead stacks. Square-plan gatepiers to W of courtyard with coped necks and spherical finials, modern boarded timber 2-leaf gate. Rubble wall with rubble coping to SW incorporating flat-roofed structure to NW angle of castle. Rubble boundary wall extends to E of courtyard, incorporating ogee-roofed summerhouse.

Statement of Interest

A-Group with Mains of Aboyne, Home Farm, South Lodge, West Lodge, Walled Garden, Allach Bridge and Ice House. The earliest part of Aboyne Castle, the NW corner, appears to date from 1671, when it was rebuilt by Charles, 1st Earl of Aboyne. However, it seems likely that there was a castle on this site as early as the 11th century, when it could only be reached by drawbridge or boat (NSA, p1055). William Bisset, suspected of the murder of the Earl of Atholl retreated to the castle, before going in voluntary exile to Ireland. The Knights Templar next took over the castle, followed by the Frasers of Cowie, then, sometime before 1388, the Gordons. Before the E wing was demolished Groome describes Aboyne Castle as having "an imposing south front" (Groome, p373). In 1888 Sir William Cunliffe Brooks of Glen Tanar, whose daughter Amy married Charles Gordon the 11th Earl of Huntly, bought Aboyne Castle. From George Truefitt's Sketch Books it appears that as at Glen Tanar, he was involved in working on Aboyne Castle for Brooks, however the extent of his involvement is not clear. The castle changed ownership several times before return to the possession of the Marquesses of Huntly, and who were responsible in the later 20th century for returning to castle (as much as surviving information would allow) to its original 17th century tower house form.

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