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An 18th Century Country House – Brechin Castle

In the ever so gorgeous town of Brechin in Scotland stands the gorgeous Brechin Castle. It stands ever so elegantly and proud atop massive bluff rocks on the River Southesk. The estate it sits on is named Dalhousie Estate and it is around 55,000 acres which means it stretched from the vale of Strathmore to the Grampian mountains.

Its commanding positions as well as its specifically designed landscape that surrounds it is just one reason why it is such a popular attraction.

The history of Brechin Castle

This gorgeous 18th-century country house has been known as the home of the Earls of Dalhousie for over 250 years. The castle has been created to follow an irregular rectangle plan and it features a turreted central block overlooking a gorgeous central courtyard.  The site it stands on was a formerly moated site that sits above the River Southesk.

The interiors of the castle feature a number of richly panelled rooms with a huge collection of fine art and unique furniture.

The early history

The original Brechin Castle dates back to the 13 century perhaps even earlier. In the year 1296, John Baliol, King of Scotland renounced his homage to Edward I of England. Shortly after, Edward marched forth with his armies and defeated Baliol at the battle of Dunbar. John was forced to abdicated and some 1800 Scottish noblemen were forced to pay Homage to Edward.

Over the following years there was great discontent in Scotland as the English king tried to cement his rule over the Scots. Edward was once again the head of an invading army and one of the castles he laid siege to was Brechin Castle in 1303. The defenders who were under Sir Thomas Maule bravely held out for three weeks but were soon forced to surrender when Maule died after being hit by a stone from a siege engine.

File:John Balliol.jpg
John Baliol. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Rebuilding Brechin Castle

In the year 1643, the 1st Earl of Panmure purchased the castle from the Earl of Mar. Then, the 4th Earl of Panmure went forth and rebuilt Brechin Castle giving it its current layout. After a few years, the Earl joined the Old Pretender, James Stuart, in the abortive 1715 uprising. When the rising inevitably failed, the Earl then fled overseas.

After this, the crown seized the estate but the Earl’s son, Henry, eventually managed to get his bands back on it.

File:Battle of Sheriffmuir.jpg
The Battle of Sheriffmuir November 1715. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The remaining castle

Little evidence of the very early medieval building remains. The oldest part of the castle that is currently existing is the kitchen block. It is here that you can see a stone bearing that dates way back to 1703. However, in 1711, the castle underwent major renovations to give the building its current look.

The current day

The present house was last reconstructed back in the 1700s and it incorporated old parts of parts of the original castle. This means that the building has been able to evolve from its defensive role to its present country house style. These days, Lord and Lady Dalhousie extend a very warm welcome to their home at Brechin Castle. The castle and gardens are open to the public at set times every year.

You may enjoy reading about other Scottish castles such as Dunvegan Castle.

Brechin Castle for sale

In the year 2019, the current owners listed Brechin Castle for sale. A news report released reported that the castle had eight reception rooms, 16 bedrooms, and 10 bathrooms.

Brechin Castle Timeline

  • Early 13th century- The original castle is built
  • 1643- The 1st Earl of Panmure purchases the castle from the Earl of Mar and the 4th Earl of Panmure went forth and rebuilt Brechin Castle
  • 1711- The castle underwent major renovations to give the building its current look
  • 2019- The castle is up for sale

Facts about Brechin Castle

  • Brechin Castle made a gallant stand against the English forces of Edward I in 1303
  • When it was for sale, it was for offers over £3million
  • The grounds have been in the Maule-Ramsay family since the 12th century
  • The castle sits on 55,000 acres (22,000 ha)
  • The castle has been Category A Listed since 1971

Who owns Brechin Castle?

Brechin Castle has been a stronghold of the Ramsay family since around 1645. Lord and Lady Dalhousie are almost always around to extend a warm welcome to their home at the ancient city of Brechin which is open to the public for 4 weeks in May/June each year.


Brechin Castle is open from Thursday 10th of June to Saturday 4th of July and tours run from 2 pm and 3:15 pm. Then, it reopens on Saturday the 10th of July and Sunday the 11th of July to run tours between 2 pm and 3:15 pm. You can book your tickets by telephoning 01356 624566. The entry fee for everyone is £6, children under 12 get free entry.

Nearby, you are also able to visit many places such as the Brechin Town House Museum, Caledonian Railway, and even the House of Mark. It is always a lovely day out for the family in this quaint little place. Book today to enjoy a taste of how architecture has changed throughout history.

More Images

  • Brechin Castle Garden

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