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The Scottish Castles Association
Preserving the Past for the Future

Elcho Castle - Perthshire

Elcho Castle

Elcho Castle

Impressive and well-preserved, both stronghold and comfortable residence. Elcho Castle is a 16th century tower house, built in the plan of a Z with an extra tower at one corner. It consists of a long rectangular main block, with a square stair-tower projecting from one corner, and three other towers projecting on the opposite side. One of these is a round stair-tower, corbelled out to square at the top, while the other square towers contain apartments. Some windows still have iron yetts and the walls are pierced with many gunloops. Two turnpike stairs are corbelled-out above first floor level and give access to the upper floors and the towers along with the round stair-tower.

One round tower and some walling remain from a courtyard, which formerly enclosed many buildings.

The entrance to the tower, in the re-entrant angle, leads to a wide turnpike stair and into the vaulted basement, which contains a large kitchen with an enormous fireplace, and cellars., The hall on the first floor has some remains of plasterwork and has a large fireplace. The lord's apartments were also on this floor. The upper floors and towers contained many more comfortable chambers.

William Wallace is supposed to have sheltered here, but nothing of this early castle remains. The Wemyss family held the property from 1468, and built the existing castle towards the end of the 16th century. The family were made Lords Elcho in 1633, as well as Earls of Wemyss the same year. David, Lord Elcho, fought and survived the Battle of Culloden on the Jacobite side in 1746, but had to flee to France. By the 1780's Elcho Castle was abandoned by the family, although it may have been used to house farm workers, and fell into decay. It was re-roofed in 1830, and has been in the care of the State since 1929. A small spring is said to have been used by William Wallace.

Wording taken from The Castles of Scotland Third Edition by Martin Coventry

Date posted: 17 Apr 2010Last updated: 20 Nov 2014

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