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Pitcaple Castle

A yellow-harled A-listed tower house set in 28 ha (70 acres) of parkland on the right bank of the River Urie, Pitcaple Castle is located a half-mile (0.8 km) east of Whiteford, a similar distance northeast of Pitcaple and 4 miles (6.5 km) northwest of Inverurie. Dating from c.1457, when the lands here were given to David Leslie by King James II, the castle comprises three storeys, a vaulted basement and an attic, with sizeable round towers at opposing corners of its Z-plan. These towers, together with associated bartizans, feature unusual concave candle-snuffer roofs. There was once a courtyard, moat and draw-bridge, but these are no longer extant.

The castle remained in the Leslie family until the death of Brigadier General Sir James Leslie in 1757. Thereafter it passed through marriage to the Lumsden family but soon fell into disrepair. However, the castle was restored to use in 1835 by William Burn (1789 - 1870) with a Scots Baronial extension featuring a new entrance. Further work, including the provision of a service court, was undertaken in 1873 by Aberdeen-based architect Duncan McMillan.

Visited by King James IV (1473 - 1513), Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87) and King Charles II (1630-85). Lady Leslie's cousin James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose (1612-50), was held here against the wishes of the family en route to his execution in Edinburgh. The presence of a robin in the castle is regarded as bringing news of death, one having been found prior to Montrose's execution and another just before the laird was killed at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

The castle remains the family home of the Burges-Lumsdens.


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