SCA Castle Tour to Angus and the Mearns - April 2019
This three storey early 16th century Lindsay tower guarded the hill road from the north and its links into the other Angus glens from a commanding position above the river North Esk.
It was heightened and embellished with turret and shot holes a century later. It is roofless, but complete to the wall head and retains its first floor entrance yett.
Although it looks as if this, like Edzell, was first an L-plan tower house with a hall block added later in the 16th century, it was all built around 1540, reputedly by Cardinal Beaton for his mistress.
The hall was a grand chamber with large south facing windows and the corbeling in the battlements is very fine.
The “Tower” section was rescued from ruin some 20 years ago and since the Scottish Castle Association’s last visit an extensive walled garden has been built and planted with a historical perspective.
Sited in a working farm yard, held together by ivy and a great metal chain, lies the ruin of an interesting 17th century laird’s house. MacGibbon and Ross sketched “a well-preserved mansion” which had recently been occupied; Tranter found it partly roofless and in bad repair.
At some point it has been remodelled internally, sub-divisions and smaller fireplaces can be seen in the walls. There are mouldings, shot holes and some corbelling to be seen externally and an architectural conundrum above the angular stair turret in the smaller re-entrant angle.
Aberlemmo Sculptured Stones
Three of the finest examples of Pictish carving dating from 6th-8th centuries.
The stones sit in their original footings by the roadside in Aberlemno depicting battle scenes, animal and early Christian iconography.
Flemington to Glamis is the sublime to the ridiculous! However, under its ostentation and architectural exuberance Glamis is basically a 15th Century L plan tower with circular stair in the re-entrant angle.
Heightened in the 16th century and embellished and expanded in every century since. Look out for the historical etchings that show its poor states of preservation between those building phases.
A most attractive and architecturally fascinating turreted oblong fortilace with stair tower built by the Gardynes around 1560 and extended eastwards a century later by the Lyells of Dysart.
A sympathetically styled Edwardian wing gives the current owners a comfortable dwelling. There are, however, many more building phases to spot and debate! Much of the masonry detailing, ancient and newly commissioned, is of remarkable quality. The gardens have recently been transformed and an exceptional garden house built in the barmekin wall.
A Lovat Fraser built this once fine example of an L-shaped laird’s house in 1581 before it became an Ogilvy house. MacGibbon and Ross enthused about it being unaltered and in such a good state of preservation.
It sits in a field by a busy working farm and commands extensive views in all directions. Sadly the roof has fallen in and entry through the original oaken door and iron yett would be dangerous.
Spectacularly and precariously perched on a bluff above the mouth of The Lunan Water are the remains of Red Castle. William de Berkely, Royal Chamberlain, built on the site c1165, and the approach path crosses remains of ditch and rampart which may be part of this.
There is a rich history featuring an illegitimate daughter of Cardinal Beaton, a bitter feud with the neighbouring family at what is now Duninald and fierce lady laird resisting a siege, even primitive artillery. The curtain wall is likely to be 13th century and the north wall of the slighted red ashlar 15th century tower still rises to its original four storeys and a garret.
A 16th century L-shaped tower of great quality with an 18th century mansion to the east. For many years used as a farmhouse, and lately a shooting lodge, on the Fasque estate.
The original elaborate parapet with faux window and armorial panel, dated 1569, was probably truncated when a 17th century crow-stepped alteration to the western portion. Original ground-floor entrance is within the 18th century porch.
Above the vaulted ground floor the main hall has a splendid groined and ribbed vaulted ceiling with tempera armorial panels and is very similar in design to that of Towie Barclay.
The trees on the hillock at Castleton of Kincardine conceal the remains of an important royal fortress used by 13th century Scottish kings as a hunting seat. It would have been protected by marshland and control passage over the Cairn o’ Mounth pass to the north.
The footings of the walls and the great entrance towers can still be discerned. It was still in use and under the custody of the Woods, builders of Balbegno, when the settlement here became the county seat in 1532, but little remains now apart from the market cross which was moved to nearby Fettercairn.
The L-shaped 15th century tower rises four storeys to remarkable, high quality corbelling and crenellation. Further building works over the intervening centuries of continuous occupation give a rich mixture of architectural styles. However, the round tower in the north east corner is probably the oldest part of the structure
Thornton of that Ilk held the lands until 1309 when they passed through an heiress to the Strachans. Eventually Sir Thomas Thornton bought the property back into the family in 1893 and it is still the family residence.
John Livingston of Dunipace built the L-planned tower house on newly acquired lands at the end of the 16th century. It passed through several families of note in the history of the Mearns and is home to Carnegies once more.
There is elaborate string coursing to be seen, fine corbelling supporting the turrets and a more modern door way driven through the wall as the original doorway disappeared behind one of the later wings. The roof line has been steepened and repaired in the last century.
Some of this ruinous Z-plan tower of the Lindsays from 1560 sits high above the Noran Water a couple of hundred metres from the farm steading that contains much of the rest. Before a tenant farmer blew it up and used it as a quarry (the steading is now listed as a result), it was a building of some quality as can be seen by the good mouldings, shot-holes and ashlar vaulting.
The door was at the base of the round tower with a once finely wrought stair leading to first floor. Stone panels now in the steading suggest that the Earl of Southesk renovated the building in 1678. The barmekin lay between the tower and the river, extensive gardens can be traced along the river bank leading to the sandstone quarry from which the tower was built. A lady in white haunts the building.
Built by the Lindsay Earls of Crawford in glorious red sandstone to replace the stronghold on the nearby motte, this early 16th century L-planned tower became the centrepiece of an extensive range of later buildings.
Were these not interesting enough, Sir David Lindsay, well-travelled and a man of taste and intellect completed in 1604 a splendid, but unfortunately financially crippling, walled garden. This renaissance pleasance is the finest surviving example in Scotland.