Brechin Castle

Coordinates: 56°43′45″N 2°39′32″W / 56.72917°N 2.65889°W / 56.72917; -2.65889
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Brechin Castle (June 2009)
Engraving of the castle from Scotia Depicta by James Fittler
Brechin Castle circa 1880.

Brechin Castle is a castle in Brechin, Angus, Scotland. The castle was constructed in stone during the 13th century. Most of the current building dates to the early 18th century, when extensive reconstruction was carried out by architect Alexander Edward for James Maule, 4th Earl of Panmure, between approximately 1696 and 1709.[1] The castle is a 37,748 square feet (3,506.9 m2) Category A listed building[2] and the grounds are included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland.[3]

A garden gate at Brechin Castle


The grounds have been in the Ramsay family since the 12th century. In 1782, under the terms of a Maule will, William Ramsay adopted the name William Ramsay Maule, thereafter uniting the family names. Ramsay-Maule appears to have remodelled the frontage to a fashionable Georgian style at this time.

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.[4] 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.[5] Brechin Castle has been a stronghold of the Ramsay family since around 1645.[6]

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 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.[2]

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."[7] As of 2018 the castle and gardens were open to the public in June/July.[8]

On September 11, 2022, the royal cortège carrying the body of Queen Elizabeth II from Balmoral Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh made a private, 45 minute stop at Brechin Castle to allow the drivers and participants to rest. [9]

Sale of the castle[edit]

In 2019, the building and 70-acre grounds of Brechin Castle were put up for sale, with James Ramsay, 17th Earl of Dalhousie and chief of Clan Ramsay citing prohibitive upkeep costs as the motivating factor.[10] A news report stated that the castle has eight reception rooms, 16 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.[11][12]

Another news report made this statement: "Of the early medieval building little evidence remains. The oldest part of the current castle is the kitchen block, where can be seen a stone bearing the date 1703, but in 1711 major renovations were made which gave the building its current form". Edzell and Invermark and the family businesses – including Brechin Castle Garden Centre and Peggy Scott’s – were not being sold.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Colvin, Howard (1978) A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, James Murray, pp.282-3
  2. ^ a b Historic Environment Scotland. "BRECHIN CASTLE (Category A Listed Building) (LB5030)". Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  3. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "BRECHIN CASTLE (GDL00070)". Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  4. ^ Annie I. Cameron, Calendar State Papers Scotland: 1593-1595, vol. 11 (Edinburgh, 1936), p. 190.
  5. ^ Michael Pearce, 'Approaches to Household Inventories and Household Furnishing, 1500–1650', Architectural Heritage XXVI (2015), p. 75 citing National Library of Scotland MS 5114.
  6. ^ Bloomfield, Ruth (1 April 2021). "Scottish Castles Are Rare, Huge and Very Expensive". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Brechin Castle Centre". Day Out With The Kids.
  8. ^ "Brechin Castle | Visit Angus".
  9. ^ "Queen's coffin cortege: The full route".
  10. ^ Youens, Arabella (16 June 2019). "Yours for £3m: a scottish castle built on a fortress owned by kings". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Ltd. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  11. ^, Spectacular Scottish castles and estates for sale
  12. ^, Clan chief puts family castle on market after 250 years due to high running costs
  13. ^, Historic Brechin Castle

External links[edit]

56°43′45″N 2°39′32″W / 56.72917°N 2.65889°W / 56.72917; -2.65889