Monday, June 28, 2010

Exploring Scotland 1 Castle at a Time, Part 16, Kildrummy Castle

In the Ballater area, in the middle of a green field surrounded by sheep pastures, stands the ruins of a once magnificent castle.

Kildrummy castle was built in 1250 by the Earl of Marr. But the Earl wasn’t the only one who had a hand in seeing the castle completed.  Master James of St. John, Edward I’s master stone mason, was paid a large sum by Edward in 1303 after a visit to the castle. So, it's implied that Edward paid for some of the work to be done on the castle. It is known that he suggested to the Earl that the wide trench that surrounds Killdrummy be dug to make it more difficult to attack.

As you come upon the Castle from a narrow track the possibility of the place, the beauty that it must have been, is there within the grasp of your imagination.

Kildrummy was built in a D shape with seven story tall barrel towers on each end of the long straight bar of the D. Equal distances between the back towers, which were the families living quarters, and the front guard towers were two more drum towers.

The Great Hall was structured against the back wall of the castle. And the chapel on the East wall closest to one of the large seven story towers.

In 1306 Edward invaded Scotland and dispatched an army under his son’s command to attack the castle being held by Neil Bruce for his brother Robert. Neil fought off an extended siege, but was betrayed by the castle blacksmith, a man by the name of Osborne. Neil and all his men were hanged. And I’ve read that Osborne was rewarded with gold, melted and poured down his throat.

This is an artists rendering of what the castle may have looked like in it's hay-day. It's on a sign at the sight.

After being repaired, in 1335 the castle was attacked again. Robert the Bruce’s sister, Lady Christian Bruce, commanded her husband’s forces in his absence and defended the Castle. She was successful in holding off the attack until her husband, Sir Andrew Murray, arrived. Go Lady Christian!

In 1357 King David II attacked the castle and defeated the Earl of Mar. In 1435, King James I took control of the castle and for several decades the structure was strengthened and improved.

In 1507 the Elphinstone Family took possession of the castle. The family settled in for the next 182 years. But in 1686 the Jacobites occupied the castle during the uprising and damaged the castle. In 1715 the 25th Earl of Marr led a Jacobite uprising that was defeated. He fled to France leaving the castle to fall into ruin. In his absence, the Castle was used as a convenient quarry for building materials in the area.

In 1898 Colonel James Ogston acquired the castle and tried for the rest of his life to restore the castle. After his death the castle was placed in Historic Scotland’s care.

Kildrummy may be a ruin but it's beauty and the beauty of the surrounding area makes it well worth the drive to explore it. I would have loved to have seen it at its most glorious.

Tomorrow I'll be blogging about Brody Castle and the Pict stone discovered there. Also, I'll be posting some pictures of the Band B we stayed at called the Old Kirk.  It's a B and B created, you guessed it, from an old Scottish Kirk, it was truly beautiful.

Write on,
Teresa R.


P.L. Parker said...

Once again, amazing pictures. So enjoying the castle tour.

Anita Clenney said...

Yes. Go Lady Christian! I love seeing women in history who didn't just sit back and shake in their shoes, but take action.

Great pictures. I would love to visit Scotland's castles, so this feels kind of like I'm there.

Anita Clenney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Another great blog, Teresa. That first photo of the length of road is awesome. Can you imagine who and how many used that road over the centuries? My imagination goes wild when I see things like this. I wish walls could talk..

Lady Christian sure had moxey. Have to appreciate their strength of character in those days.

Thank you again. I will be sad when we've seen them all and you are finished sharing. :)