Slains Castle

Castle, Country House

Site Name Slains Castle

Classification Castle, Country House

Alternative Name(s) Bowness

Canmore ID 21149

Site Number NK13NW 1

NGR NK 1015 3610

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Cruden
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Banff And Buchan
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Archaeology Notes

1015 3610

(NK 1015 3610) Slains Castle (NR) AD 1664

OS 6" map, (1959).

Not to be confused with (Old) Slains Castle (NK 0533 3000), for which see

Now a shapeless, two-storeyed, labyrinthine ruin (HBD No. 19) this building originated as a square tower and court in the reign of James VI, when it was named Bowness. It was subsequently enlarged and was virtually rebuilt in 1846-7 although the base of the square tower survives on the S, with 19th century additions (information from, View of the Diocese of Aberdeen).

J B Pratt 1901.

The tower, at NK 1016 3607 on the S of Slains Castle, is rectangular, measuring 4.8m by 2.5m within a wall 1.2m thick. The walling to first floor level is probably original, but with alterations. A blocked-up window is in the SW. The whole building is a roofless shell.

Visited by OS (RL) 18 May 1972.

Air photographs: AAS/94/07/G17/13-15.

NMRS, MS/712/21.

(Location cited as NK 1016 3607). Roofless shell of castle of 17th and 18th century date. Now a shapeless two-storey ruin, it originated as a square tower and court in the reign of James VI, when it ws named Bowness. It was enlarged and virtually rebuilt in 1836-7; the base of the square tower survives on the S.

(Air photographic imagery and periodical/newspaper references listed]

NMRS, MS/712/35.

Architecture Notes

Slains Castle.

ARCHITECT: John Smith 1836/7 - additions to the castle of 1664

Thomas Mawson c.1900 - layout of garden

Site Management (2 March 2004)

Magnificant sea-girt courtyard palace erected by the Ninth Earl of Erroll after James VI destroyed his old castle at Collieston. The wings were customary one room thick, each apartment opening into the next, so that in 1664 a gallery was added within the courtyard to add a corridor, and a new entrance front in 1707. A magnificant ogee-roofed bow window was added in the middle of the south flank.

Substantially rebuilt and granite faced in 1836-7 by John Smith in the Baronial style. Unroofed in 1925 (Charles McKean) Bram Stoker is thought to have written part of Dracula whilst staying at Crookit Lum Cottage near Cruden Bay in 1895. He may have visited the castle as a guest of William Hay, 19th Earl of Errol. (The Herald)

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