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Brucklay Castle

A Category C Listed Building in New Deer, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.5414 / 57°32'29"N

Longitude: -2.1504 / 2°9'1"W

OS Eastings: 391092

OS Northings: 850151

OS Grid: NJ910501

Mapcode National: GBR P81S.PHK

Mapcode Global: WH9NR.YQ41

Plus Code: 9C9VGRRX+HR

Entry Name: Brucklay Castle

Listing Name: Brucklay Castle

Listing Date: 5 October 2004

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397793

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49988

Building Class: Cultural

Location: New Deer

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Central Buchan

Parish: New Deer

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Ruinous. Thomas Mackenzie, 1849 and Mackenzie and Matthews (probably James Matthews), 1881, 1888 and 1894 Scots baronial house. Reconstruction of 17th century tower house, itself probably incorporating 16th century fabric, altered 1765 (including W front) and 1815. 3- and 4-storey house with tall centre tower and caphouse added to SW of earlier structure. Partial demolition 1953, but some E (entrance), N and W elevational detail and some interior walls remain. Harl, squared granite and coursed rubble. Some ashlar margins and architraves. Elaborate corbels, roll and ropework mouldings, and band courses. Chamfered arrises. Elevational details described complete to wallhead (2004).

E (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: turreted and heavily corbelled porte cochere projecting at centre from 4-storey crowstepped bay with rounded angle to left corbelled to square and again round at attic bartizan, and square-headed windows, that to gablehead corbelled and canopied. Regularly-fenestrated 2-storey and attic, 2-bay block to right with bartizan to outer angle and single storey, bartizaned bay beyond. 2 bays to left of centre (formerly mirroring the above) with some evidence of openings.

N ELEVATION: 3-storey, 2-bay crowstepped gable to centre with 2 bays to right and further crowstepped bay angled to left (this covered with vegetation), further 2-bay crowstepped gable to outer left with single storey bay projecting at ground.

W ELEVATION: 4-storey, 3-bay elevation of 1765, with 1849 stair tower. Coursed squared granite. Evidence of single storey service courtyard projecting at ground, architraved 1st floor door to centre with semicircular pediment monogrammed with initials 'ADF', and regular fenestration. Corbelled round tower (1849) to left and angle turret to right. Apparently isolated outer right angled bay with corbelled and pedimented oriel window at apex (remains of 19th century S elevation).

INTERIOR: ground largely filled with debris overlaying vaults broken through in places.

Statement of Interest

The important early tower (possibly round) house was probably erected by James, 1st laird of Brucklay, circa 1600-25, although it has been suggested that this building incorporated an earlier 16th century structure based on evidence of the remains of a roll-moulded semicircular arch on a first floor internal wall. The 1600 date is based on visible evidence of windows, fireplaces and close garderobes and coincides with James Brucklay's accession of 1598. Any earlier structure would have been attached to the estate of Fedderate whose laird granted Brucklay to his eldest son in 1490. The early core (situated at the SW corner) would probably have been an L-plan aligned E-W with projecting SE wing with stair, and vaulted cellars. The sympathetic 1765 and 1815 alterations were followed by Thomas Mackenzie's (Scotsman says John Matthews) 1849 reconstruction for Capt Alexander Dingwall-Fordyce. The completely altered character included raising the height of two rooms added in 1814 to three storeys, with 'the front broken by extending the entrance hall and projecting a porte-cochere. The old circular staircase was removed and a new one erected in a square tower carried up to a height of 75 feet and terminated by a sort of keep on the top' (The Scotsman). Further alterations, probably by James Matthews, were made in 1881 including the addition of harl which conceals much evidence of progressive builds. Matthews was apprenticed to Archibald Simpson (1790-1847) and was subsequently in partnership with Dr Marshall Mackenzie (1848-1933). The 19th century Brucklay, reportedly a '100-roomed mansion', exhibits significant stylistic similarities with Dr Mackenzie's work on Ballindalloch Castle, Aberlour, Banffshire. An undated drawing at Aberdeen Art Gallery, signed by J Smith, shows a coffered dome with lantern over the entrance hall. John Smith designed the stable block in 1820 and bridge in 1830, prior to the extensive Mackenzie alterations. Brucklay Castle was requisitioned by the government for war and post war purposes. In 1953, The Scotsman reported that 'The roof of the castellated building is to be removed and the interior gutted to save taxes'. Brucklay at its height boasted some five acres of garden with ornamental lake and formal terraced gardens to the south side of the house. A granite obelisk in the grounds commemorates William Dingwall-Fordyce MP 1836-1875.

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