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Scottish Castle on the Esk

Scottish Castle
Brechin Castle - a Scottish Castle
Brechin Castle overlooking the Esk

Brechin Castle occupies a commanding position overlooking its surrounding designed landscape, says the agents sales details. It continues: There are about 40 acres of policies including the renowned walled garden, where, in addition to the Castle there are two gate lodges (West and New) and three further estate houses and cottages. The properties are strategically placed around the grounds without compromising the outlook of the Scottish Castle. The River South Esk provides the opportunity to catch salmon and sea trout in the Castle Pool. Throughout the policies there is an exceptional array of specimen trees which enhances the designed landscape surrounding the Castle.

the walled gardnes to the Scottish Castle
Brechin Castle Walled Gardens

Brechin Castle stands proud on a massive bluff of rocks above the banks of the River South Esk. On the site of a much older fortress belonging to the Scottish Kings, the present house was last reconstructed in the early 1700s and incorporates part of the original castle dating back to the 13th century. The building has evolved from a defensive role to its present great house style. Despite its size, the Castle lends itself well to being both a family home and hosting large gatherings in grand style. Built in a period when families were large with numerous children and with a battalion of house staff, Brechin Castle has the potential to be used for a commercial purpose utilising all the space on offer.

There are two entrances to the Castle. The north drive is the principal approach to the Castle, accessed from the imposing entrance gates at the New Lodge.

The main gate to the Scottish Castle
Gate House

The tarred drive crosses the Skinners Burn by a single arch bridge, one of two in Brechin, the other being at the Den providing access to the cemetery.

An entrance gate to the Scottish Castle
Second entrance

The bridges were designed and built in 1856 by John Henderson, son of the Brechin Castle gardener. After crossing the bridge you enter the open parkland which reveals the fine front elevation of the Castle.

The south drive, over which the purchaser will have a right of access, passes through open farmland and forestry before crossing the River South Esk via the Image Bridge before gently climbing up through the estate parkland past the walled garden to join the main driveway. The Image Bridge was built by James Burn of Haddington in 1797.

Every Scottish Castle needs a bridge over a river!
Driveway over the River Esk
Image of Brechin Castle from 1880
Brechin Castle in County Angus, Scotland from Morris’s Country Seats (1880).

Upon entering the Castle, you are greeted with Edward’s original panelled walls and impressive columns that were added after the initial restoration. In addition, the ceiling appears to date back to Alexander Laing’s reparations in 1797. The imposing staircase leads up from the ground floor Entrance Hall to the first floor landing where many pieces of traditional artwork, mostly family portraits, are presented. The staircase is very much in its original condition and still retains its striking ironwork balustrades which were installed in 1659.

Entrance Hall
Entrance Hall

Accessed from the ground floor entrance hall, the small dining room is accented with a vaulted ceiling and small windows which suggest that this is the site of the original building which dates back to the 12th century. This room was the former kitchen but was converted into a Porter’s lodge by Alexander Edward in the 1711 reconstruction of the house. However, it became the small dining room during alterations in the early 1960s by the 16th Earl and Countess of Dalhousie.

Off the entrance hall there is a security monitor room and cloakroom, bedroom suite with turret room and separate WC. The passageway leads from the entrance hall to the family sitting room which has two full length windows giving access to the sun terrace overlooking the River South Esk.

The principal reception rooms are located on the first floor all leading from the gallery which was restored by the 14th Earl and Countess.

Galllery befitting an English Castle

The drawing room is steeped in history and boasts intricate craftsmanship throughout. The 14th Countess of Dalhousie appointed John Keeble of London to produce a design for this room. The detailed woodwork in this room was all created by local craftsmen and above the fireplace one can see the crests of the two families associated with Brechin Castle, the Maules and the Ramsays.

Drawing Room
Drawing Room
Drawing Room
Drawing Room

The dining room is fitted in a modest late 17th century style. The walls are attractively panelled and the three large south facing windows look out over the steep banks of the river below.

Dining Room
Dining Room

The little drawing room at the front of the house was previously a bedroom and also a billiard room but was refurbished by the current Earl’s late mother.

Little Drawing Room
“Little Drawing Room”

Off the gallery there is a passage which leads to the principal bedroom with two dressing rooms and an ensuite bathroom. There are two further bedrooms and a family bathroom. On the second floor there are a further 12 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms.

Greenhouses and Vinery

At the rear of castle, off the courtyard there is a rustic dining room (shoot room), estate offices, ancillary storage and staff accommodation.

Undergardeners cottage
Under Gardeners Cottage

Wikipedia entry is as follows:

The grounds have been in the Maule-Ramsay family since the 12th century. The castle has been the seat of the Clan Maule since medieval times. The Maule and Ramsay clans were joined under a single chieftain in the 18th century. The seat of the Ramsay clan was moved from Dalhousie Castle in Midlothian to Brechin Castle in the early 20th century. The castle is the home of the Earl of Dalhousie, the clan chieftain of Clan Maule of Panmure in Angus, and Clan Ramsay of Dalhousie.

Marie Stewart, Countess of Mar entertained her brother-in-law, the Earl of Huntly at Brechin in September 1593.  She hosted John Taylor the Water Poet, and King James on his return to Scotland in 1617. She had inventories made of the contents and furnishings of Brechin Castle in 1611 and 1622. Brechin Castle has been a stronghold of the Ramsay family since around 1645.

The Estate

The estate consisted of approximately 150,000 acres (61,000 ha) at its height and is now 55,000 acres (22,000 ha). The formal gardens date to the early 18th century. Agriculture and forestry largely dominate the estate grounds, but tourists can stay at several guest lodges on the property.

The Scottish castle has been Category A Listed since 1971. The summary states that the battlemented flank walls were added in the mid-1800s, the building was remodelled 1854 and that a tower was added in 1863. Other modifications were also made in that era.

Engraving of Brechin Castle
Engraving of the castle from Scotia Depicta by James Fittler

A 1990s addition to the grounds is Brechin Castle Centre, described as a “Country Park with Cafe and Garden Centre, plus loads of kids activities in the Park and in a Yard Play Area.”  As of 2018 the castle and gardens were open to the public in June/July. (go to page here)

Gardeners Cottage
Gardeners Cottage

Located on the east coast of Scotland, Angus is a county renowned for its heather clad hills, productive farmland, historic castles and attractive coastline. The county of Angus is perhaps lesser known than its neighbour Perthshire, but is equally beautiful, for its varied coastline from Dundee, home to The Discovery and recently opened V&A museum to the Montrose Basin, an incredibly important sanctuary for thousands of waders, wildfowl and migratory pink footed geese each year. This stunning Scottish castle lies between Dundee, recently voted by the Sunday Times as the best place to live in Scotland and Aberdeen, the oil capital of Scotland.

County of Angus
County of Angus

For the full details, from the agents Savills, of this most stunning scottish castle, click here… Detached house for sale in Brechin Castle, By Brechin, Angus, DD9 (

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