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Glenbuchat Castle

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

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Latitude: 57.2209 / 57°13'15"N

Longitude: -2.9997 / 2°59'58"W

OS Eastings: 339729

OS Northings: 814901

OS Grid: NJ397149

Mapcode National: GBR L9YM.YBL

Mapcode Global: WH7MM.WRRS

Entry Name: Glenbuchat Castle

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1981

Last Amended: 20 January 1999

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90151

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Glenbuchat

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument to be scheduled comprises the remains of Glenbuchat Castle and a surrounding area of land representing part of the policies.

The castle is a fine example of a Z-plan tower-house, with square towers, or jambs, placed at diagonally opposing corners of a central rectangular block. Its external appearance is enlivened by projecting rounded and rectangular turrets, rounded projecting stair turrets carried on squinches in the re-entrant angles, tall chimney stacks and crow-stepped gables. The doorway, in the east face of the SW jamb, is covered by a lintel bearing the inscription: IOHN . GORDON . HELEN . CARNEGIE . 1590 / NOTHING . ON . EARTH . REMAINS . BOT . FAIME. Inside the door, a spiral stair, much altered in recent times, leads up to the first floor.

As first constructed, the building had two floors and an attic storey above a vaulted basement. A first-floor hall, in the central block, rose through two floors, with a kitchen and store rooms below. The NE and SW jambs contained chambers in their upper levels, above a pantry and stair respectively.

In the early 18th century, however, the hall was subdivided to form a dining room and drawing room, and its ceiling was lowered to allow the insertion of another two chambers above it, the western one being lit by a large four-light window.

The area north of the castle is traversed from SW to E by a disused mill-lade, while low earthworks to the NE of the castle appear to indicate remains of a former garden enclosure.

The builder of the castle, John Gordon of Cairnburrow, was in possession of the estate in 1572. As the inscription indicates, he built the castle in 1590 to mark the occasion of his marriage to his second wife, Helen Carnegie, daughter of Sir Robert Carnegie of Kinnaird (Angus).

The reorganization of the interior was probably carried out shortly after 1701, when the estate was purchased by John Gordon of Knockespock for his son, also named John. John Gordon sold it in 1738 to William Duff, Lord Braco, and by the mid 19th century it had been abandoned in favour of nearby Glenbuchat House.

The monument to be scheduled includes the castle itself and an irregular area of enclosed land adjoining it on the N, NE, S and W, measuring overall some 200m E-W by 112m N-S, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The enclosed car park area NE of the castle and all boundary walls and fences surrounding the scheduled area dependent on the castle are to be excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as representing an exceptionally fine and well-preserved example of a Z-plan castle whose date of construction and history of occupation are well documented. It contributes to an understanding of the architectural taste, material culture and social and economic history of the late 16th century to the late 18th, while the area adjoining it has the potential to add further pertinent information through archaeological excavation. The monument's importance is reflected in its status as a Property in Care of the Scottish Ministers.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ 31 SE 4.


Cross, M. (1994) Bibliography of Monuments in the Care of the Secretary of State for Scotland, Glasgow, 334.

Giles, J. (1936) 'Drawings of Aberdeenshire castles', ed. W. D. Simpson, Spalding Club, vol. LVIII, Aberdeen.

MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (1887-92) The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5v, Edinburgh, vol. 2, 242.

Simpson, W. D. (1942) 'Glenbuchat and its castle', in Simpson, W. D. The Book of Glenbuchat, Aberdeen, 1-38.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Glenbuchat Castle
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Related Designations

Designation TypeListed Building (B)StatusDesignated

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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