Slains Castle

(New Slains Castle)

The atmospheric and substantial ruins of Slains Castle stand on the clifftop overlooking the North Sea a half-mile (1 km) east of Port Errol in Aberdeenshire. This structure replaced the earlier Old Slains Castle, located 6 miles (10 km) to the southwest, which had been the property of the Hay, Earls of Errol. The old castle having been destroyed in 1594, New Slains was erected in 1597 by Francis Hay, the 9th Earl of Errol (c.1564 - 1631), on the site of the former Bowness Castle. The castle was built around a courtyard and extended over the years to form a massive structure. It was rebuilt and faced with granite in 1836 to form a modern country house. However, it fell into disuse after death duties forced its sale by the 20th Earl in 1916 and had its roof removed for reasons of safety in 1925. Plans have been put forward for the refurbishment of the castle to form holiday accommodation.

Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-84) and James Boswell (1740-95) visited in 1773. Slains was sketched in 1815 by William Daniell (1769 - 1837) and is said that this building gave Bram Stoker the inspiration for Count Dracula's castle while staying at nearby Cruden Bay in 1895.

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