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Corgarff Castle

Corgarff Castle
©2016 Gazetteer for Scotland

Corgarff Castle

Corgarff Castle lies in a remote location 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Strathdon in Aberdeenshire, across the River Don from the small settlement of Corgarff. It is a much-altered late 16th Century tower house, but is still complete with its star-shaped fortifications and barrack room. An original structure on this site was the property of the Earls of Mar and this passed to the Forbes family. However a feud with the Gordons brought the burning of the castle in 1581, while the Forbes men were away, killing 28 women and children. These events are described in the ballad Edom o' Gordon.

The castle came back into the hands of the Earls of Mar in 1626 and was used as a mustering point for the Royalist army of James Graham, Marquis of Montrose (1612-50) in 1645. It was burned by the Jacobites in 1689 to prevent its use by the Government, but rebuilt only to be set ablaze once again by Hanoverian Government in 1716 to punish 'Bobbing John', the Earl of Mar who had led the Jacobite Rising the previous year. The castle was forfeited along with the Mar estates and returned to the Forbes. The Jacobites re-occupied the castle in 1745. Bought by the government after the Battle of Culloden, it was extended and the fortification built to create a barracks for Hanoverian soldiers involved in the subjugation of the Highlands. It remained garrisoned into the 19th century as the government tried to counter the problem of illicit whisky distilling. Corgarff is now in the care of Historic Environment Scotland and is open to the public.


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