Ancient Monuments

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Colquhonnie Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.1997 / 57°11'58"N

Longitude: -3.0521 / 3°3'7"W

OS Eastings: 336525

OS Northings: 812593

OS Grid: NJ365125

Mapcode National: GBR WF.0GD8

Mapcode Global: WH7MT.29WG

Entry Name: Colquhonnie Castle

Scheduled Date: 3 March 1993

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5637

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Strathdon

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument consists of the remains of a sixteenth-century

towerhouse thought to have been built by Forbes of Towie and known as Colquhonnie Castle. The building is situated in the valley of Strathdon, between the Colquhonny Hotel and Lonach Hall. The building, which is said never to have been finished, is built on the L-plan, its long elevations lying N and W.

It measures 13.9m E-W by 12m N-S over walls 1.4m thick. The walls are of large randomly-spaced granite boulders with smaller rubble pinnings. The walls stand to a height of about 8m in the E portion. The remains consist of the massive ground-floor barrel-vaults and a fragment of the vaulted first floor of the E wing.

The entrance in the re-entrant angle is well protected by two gun-loops and a wide-mouthed shot-hole. A recess for keys or a lamp is positioned on the E side, within the door. The interior arrangements are somewhat obliterated, but the basement organisation is still discernible. A passage led from the door through to a spiral stair, now demolished, at the centre of the N wall.

The basement was divided into three vaulted apartments; that at the NW contained the kitchen, with a fireplace in the N wall; the SW cellar has a small vaulted room entering of it, the E wing contains the entrance. The upper storey of the E wing consisted of a vaulted private room, with several windows, mural recesses and a small fireplace in the E wall.

Nothing survives above the basement level of the main block and it is questionable whether anything was ever built above that level. The area to be scheduled is rectilinear, measuring a maximum of 17.9m E-W by 16m N-S, but excluding the modern wooden buildings, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as it is an example, although fragmentary and incomplete, of a sixteenth-century towerhouse which provides evidence and has the potential to provide further evidence through excavation for domestic architecture, construction practices, social organisation and material culture during the late Middle Ages in Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ 31 SE 2.


MacGibbon and Ross, D and T 1887-92, The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5v, Edinburgh, Vol. 3, 459.

Simpson W D 1921, 'Notes on five Donside castles', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, Vol. 55, 148-9.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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