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Cortachy Castle

A grand whitewashed baronial edifice of N Angus, which is the seat of the Earls of Airlie, Cortachy Castle sits on the River South Esk guarding the entrance to Glen Clova, 3 miles (5 km) north of Kirriemuir. Cortachy comprises a much-altered 15th century courtyard castle, built on the Z-plan, although the earliest work which can be seen today dates from the 16th century.

The first castle on this site was built c.1330 and was the property of the Stewart Earls of Strathearn. In 1473, King James III granted the lands to Sir Walter Ogilvie, who was most-likely responsible for beginning the current structure. Three original round towers survive; one is unusual with a rectangular watch-room at the top, corbelled-out on a W-shaped support. In 1641, the castle was damaged by Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyll (1598 - 1661). It was restored but then burned in 1651 by Oliver Cromwell (1599 - 1654) in revenge for the Ogilvy's support for King Charles II (1630-85), who had spent a night in the King's Room the previous year. The castle and its estates were forfeited to the Crown following the Ogilvy's support for the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 and subsequently occupied by government troops. Cortachy was returned to the family within 30 years, but they had to wait until 1826 to recover the Earldom. The castle was remodelled around this time and then, in 1871, extended and baronialised by the architect David Bryce (1803-76), with the addition of new wing. Fire gutted this extension in 1883. During World War II, the castle served as a military hospital and subsequently Bryce's 19th century wing was demolished.

The castle is said to be haunted by a drummer, who is heard when a member of the family nears death.


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