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Castlemains Farmhouse including castellated building (Auchterarder Castle) to west, and excluding Castlemains Farm Steading and other associated outbuildings, Castlemains, Auchterarder

A Category C Listed Building in Strathallan, Perth and Kinross

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Latitude: 56.3008 / 56°18'2"N

Longitude: -3.7086 / 3°42'30"W

OS Eastings: 294369

OS Northings: 713352

OS Grid: NN943133

Mapcode National: GBR 1N.6SYN

Mapcode Global: WH5PH.0W9M

Entry Name: Castlemains Farmhouse including castellated building (Auchterarder Castle) to west, and excluding Castlemains Farm Steading and other associated outbuildings, Castlemains, Auchterarder

Listing Date: 19 September 2019

Last Amended: 23 September 2019

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 407199

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB52514

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Auchterarder

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Strathallan

Parish: Auchterarder

Traditional County: Perthshire


A substantial, later 19th century Scots Baronial-style farmhouse (incorporating an earlier 19th century farmhouse) and a detached castellated building (incorporating some fabric of Auchterarder Castle), located to the north side of Auchterarder. The buildings occupy the site of the medieval Auchterarder Castle (demolished). The farmhouse and the associated castellated building are partly surrounded by 21st century housing development (2019).

The farmhouse is a six-bay, two-storey farmhouse of light brown sandstone rubble with pale sandstone ashlar dressings, quoins, skews and chimney stacks. The earlier part of the house, to the east, has a symmetrical three-bay south front with a shallow pedimented door piece and a central nepus chimney gable. A partially surviving date stone reads [18]25. To the left is a three-bay addition with a full-height advanced gable at the third bay, added when the house was remodelled in a restrained Scots Baronial revival style in 1889. The projecting gable has canted windows at ground and first floors, a carved panel with 1889 date and a large 'M' (for Malcolm), a moulded skew cornice and a ball finial. The two bays to the left of the gable have pyramidal-roofed dormer windows breaking the eaves. To the rear (north) of the earlier part of the house is a rounded stair outshot with a baronial tower addition that was likely added when the house was enlarged in 1889. The rear of the 1889 part of the house has a single storey outshot with a piended roof.

The windows are predominantly timber sash and case frames, those to the 1825 house having a 12-pane glazing pattern. There are gable end and ridge chimney stacks and the roofs are covered with overlapping grey slate. The rainwater goods are predominantly made of cast iron.

Much of the 19th century interior scheme (seen in 2019) survives from both phases of construction including a curved stone staircase with a moulded timber handrail and decorative cast iron bannisters within the earlier part of the house. There is a large black marble fireplace in the eastern-most ground floor room. Two large rooms within the 1889 addition have compartmentalised ceilings, canted window bays with timber panelling, and distinctive moulded cornicing with floral motifs. There are at least five carved timber fireplaces, of various designs, some with decorative tile inlay and wrought iron grates. Doors are mostly timber panelled with moulded architraves. There is timber panelling to some hallways and bathrooms. The roof structure of the earlier section of the house has half-timber joists and hand-sawn timber boards of early 19th century character.

The castellated building (Auchterarder Castle) is a single-storey, square-plan structure to the west of farmhouse. It is likely located on the site of Auchterarder Castle and includes a thick fragment of rubble wall that projects at the southwest corner which is thought to belong to the earlier castle. The thinner walls incorporate a moulded arch doorway, two moulded arch windows, a vertical keyhole gunloop, and stone corbels at the roof line. A rubble fore-stair to the southeast side provides access to a roof-top viewing platform with metal handrail. The interior (seen 2018) is a single room with no fittings or fixtures. There are exposed metal supporting straps on the underside of the (concrete or cement) roof and at some of the openings. Remnants of a timber door frame and timber window frames survive (2019). A worn stone fragment depicting a warrior and chariot (of unknown origin but thought to be 17th century) was set into the wall at the top of the viewing platform stair (Ross, 1902). The stone was not seen during the visits in 2018 and 2019.

Legal exclusions

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: Castlemains Farm Steading and other associated outbuildings.

Historical development

Castlemains occupies the site of Auchterarder Castle to the north of the town. Auchterarder Castle is traditionally associated with King Malcolm III. It is recorded that Edward I stayed at Auchterarder Castle during his invasion of Scotland 1296. Timothy Ponts' late 16th century map of Lower Glen Almond (Pont 21) appears to show Auchterarder Castle as a four-storey tower house.

The first Statistical Account of Scotland (1792) states that a tenant farmer has been allowed to use stone from the castle (and wood from the associated copse) to build a farmhouse (Statistical Account, 1792).

A report on the Barony of Auchterarder prepared for the Commissioners of Annex Estates for 1765-6 notes the construction of a 'very good farm house' at Castlemains by a James Barnet (Wills, 1973, p.69). Castlemains became the property of farmer John Malcolm (1770-1850) after the lands were disposed of by Lord Perth in 1784 (Reid, 1899). The obituary of John Malcolm's grandson, who died at Castlemains in 1931, refers to the Malcolms as a well-known Perthshire family […] having been associated with the district since 1700 (Dundee Evening Telegraph, 1931).

The earlier part of the present house at Castlemains has a date stone of [18]25 (the 18 no longer being legible). This section of the house is representative of the type of farmhouse associated with earlier 19th century Improvement farming in Scotland, when farm buildings were laid out around the farmhouse within a courtyard plan. The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed, 1860) shows the footprint of the earlier farmhouse with rounded stair outshot to the rear, offices adjoining to the west (including a circular horse-mill), and further outbuildings to the north surrounding a farm court.

While the farm appears to have been known as Castlemains throughout the 19th century, the house itself is referred to as 'Auchterarder Castle' in various documents, registers and newspaper reports. The Perth Post Office Directory of 1872, for example, includes 'Auchterarder Castle' as the Malcolm residence in its list of 'Noblemen and Gentlemen's Seats' in the area (Perth Directory, 1872). The house was enlarged and remodelled in the Baronial style in 1889. The footprint of the enlarged farmhouse, with its advancing gable to the south front, is depicted on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map (revised, 1899).

The square-plan castellated building (Auchterarder Castle) has a section of thick walling to the southwest. The New Statistical Account of Scotland states in reference to the castle that "the walls of the remaining corner are 9 feet thick and cemented firmly" (New Statistical Account, 1845). This wall is likely to be the only element of the former castle on the site to survive in-situ, although a precise date of construction cannot be given.

While the building date(s) for the later parts of the castellated building are uncertain, the Perth and Kinross volume of the Buildings of Scotland suggests a mid-19th century date (Gifford, p.173). The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (1860) shows a small square-plan structure labelled 'remains of castle' with a projection to the southwest corner, likely to represent the thick section of earlier wall. The 2nd edition map (1899) includes an outshot on the southeast side of the building, this probably being the rubble fore-stair added to allow access to the roof platform.

Robert Butter became master of Castlemains through marriage in 1858. By the end of the century his son, John Butter-Malcolm (1860-1931), had established a successful poultry farm at Castlemains. The Dundee Courier reported that the poultry farm was "one of the largest and best equipped in Scotland". The report also describes the incubating room as "a modern addition built onto the old castle in the courtyard of the farm" (Dundee Courier, 1903).

The farmhouse changed hands, or was leased to tenants, after John Butter-Malcolm's death in 1931. Some of the steading buildings were developed into a large house known as Castlemains Farm Steading in 1995. The castellated building appears to have been used as a storage building in more recent years. There is significant ivy growth and other vegetation across the roof. The farmhouse and associated outbuildings have been unoccupied for a number of years (2019).

Statement of Interest

Castlemains is a notable example of an early 19th century planned farm farmhouse of some status that was enlarged in the Scots Baronial style towards the end of the century. The architectural detailing of the two principal phases of the building remains readable, charting the development of the building and the aspirations of the owners during a period of significant agricultural change. The exterior and interior largely survive in their 19th century form, adding to the special interest.

The castellated building (believed to incorporate fabric from an earlier castle on the site) is an unusual building within the context of a working farm that evokes the long history traditionally associated with Auchterarder Castle. Together, the farmhouse and the castellated building (Auchterarder Castle) illustrate the evolution of a medieval castle site and its transformation into a once substantial 19th century farmstead.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: Castlemains Farm Steading and other associated outbuildings.

Architectural interest


Castlemains is an architecturally distinguished example of a 19th century farmhouse in the area which survives largely in its 19th century form.

The farmhouse is a large composite building. The classical proportions of the earlier (1825) part of the house, with classical pediment doorpiece, nepus chimney gable, and smaller windows, is distinguishable from the later additions to the west and to the rear of the building. The nepus chimney gable is an architectural device found in higher status farmhouses and townhouses in the Fife and Perthshire regions. The design and scale of the earlier part of the house marks it out as the property of a farming family with some social status, at a time when agriculture was key to the regeneration and prosperity of many rural towns. The architect or builder of the farmhouse is not currently known.

The 1889 enlargement of the farmhouse in the Scots Baronial style, with turreted tower room to the rear and an advanced gable to the front, is an indication of the owner's increasing prosperity towards the end of the 19th century and their interest in up to date architectural trends. The revival of the architecture of the Scottish Renaissance period popularly incorporated elements of the fortified house or castle into domestic buildings of all sizes. The turreted tower to the rear gave the farmhouse a more castle-like appearance, reinforcing the connection to the earlier castle on the site. The central advanced gabled section, moulded cornices and prominent carved panels reflect the social aspirations of the owners.

The interior scheme is mostly intact, a substantial proportion of which dates to the 19th century. Elements of interest include the principal staircase, large formal rooms with decorative ceilings and fireplaces that mark the house out as the property of a farming family of relatively high social status. The farmhouse is largely constructed of a type of brown stone rubble used in a number of surviving 18th and 19th century buildings in the town and surrounding area. Some of the rubble used in the construction of the farmhouse is understood to have been taken from the former castle on the site.

The castellated building (Auchterarder Castle) is redesigned as a castle in miniature, to recall the building that previously occupied the site. Some of the carved stonework details may have been salvaged from earlier buildings on the site, and some may be 19th century replicas designed to give the appearance of age. The intention may have been to give the impression that more of the castle survived than was actually the case (mindful of the supposed destruction of the castle during the 18th century in order to build the farm).

It is not known if the building had an interior decorative scheme at any point during the 19th century. The structure was likely designed to be seen and admired from the exterior rather than be occupied.


Castlemains is located on the brow of a low hill to the north side of the town of Auchterarder. The association and grouping of the farmhouse and castellated building (Auchterarder Castle), with both buildings designed as self-styled castles relating to one another in terms of the evolution of the site they occupy, is of special interest.

The farmland surrounding the farmhouse is currently being developed as a large housing estate (2019). The loss of the farmhouse gardens and former agricultural land lessens the interest of the setting of the farmhouse and the castellated building (Auchterarder Castle).

Historic interest

Age and rarity

The farmhouse is a composite building illustrating two principal periods of construction (one towards the beginning of the 19th century and the second towards the end of the 19th century), both of which remain identifiable in the exterior form of the building. The building is a notable surviving example of a high-status farmhouse that reflects the importance of farming to the economic prosperity of Perthshire during the 19th century.

There are a small number of other listed farmhouses of similar age, size and status in the Auchterarder area including Chapelbank Farmhouse (LB11212, category C) at Dalreoch, and Leadketty Farmhouse (LB5919, category B) near Dunning.

It is unusual to find a reconstructed castle within the courtyard of a working farm. The association between the farmhouse and the castellated building, likely designed to recall the earlier castle on the same site, is unusual and adds to the special interest.

Social historical interest

The farmhouse (Castlemains) and the castellated building (Auchterarder Castle) are an unusual grouping that illustrate the evolution and transformation of a medieval castle site into a once substantial 19th century farmstead.

Association with people or events of national importance

Auchterarder Castle is traditionally considered to have been a hunting seat of Malcolm III in the 11th century. Edward I stayed at Auchterarder Castle on 21 June 1296. The lands and castle of Auchterarder were held by the Drummond family from the mid-14th century to 1747 when the lands passed into the hands of the Commissioners of the Annexed Estates.

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