Airlie Castle, Airlie House


Site Name Airlie Castle, Airlie House

Classification Castle

Alternative Name(s) Errolly

Canmore ID 31048

Site Number NO25SE 11

NGR NO 29280 52192

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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

  • Council Angus
  • Parish Airlie
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Angus
  • Former County Angus

Archaeology Notes

NO25SE 11.00 29280 52171

NO25SE 11.01 29249 52265 Bridge

NO25SE 11.02 29510 52025 Stables

(NO 2928 5220) Airlie Castle (NR) Moat (NR)

OS 6" map (1926)

Airlie Castle was built c.1432 and occupies a small promontory at the junction of the Isla and Melgund rivers. A deep ditch, 20' - 30' wide, was cut across the base of the promontory, and on the inner side of this is the E wall of the enceinte, c.120' long, 10' thick and 35' high; towards the N end of it is a portcullis gatway with a lofty tower upon corbels above it. The upper portion of the tower and staircase turret are of much later construction than the wall. Nothing remains of the return wall at the southern end. The modern mansion seems to occupy the position of the N wall of the enceinte - some portions of which still exist toward the W end, incorporated in the modern masonry. The castle was burnt by Argyll in 1640.

A J Warden 1891; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1892

The remains of the enceinte wall, as described above, are all that survive of the original Airlie Castle. The buildings on the N are entirely modern, and no early masonry was noted in their walls. Modern landscaping has destroyed any trace of the original ditch or moat.

The castle is the residence of the dowager Countess of Airlie (Scots Mag, June 1978).

Visited by OS (RD) 9 September 1970

Airlie Castle stands on the promontory formed where the Melgam Water meets the River Isla; it was probably begun in or shortly after 1432. Formerly 'an oblong quadrangle', all that now remains of the medieval castle is the E wall of the courtyard, measuring about 36m in length, 3m in thickness and 9m in height, towards the N end of which there is an entrance gateway surmounted by a tower. The present mansion, built in 1792-3, occupies the position of the N wall and incorporates portions of the earlier castles.

OSA 1794; NSA 1845; A J Warden 1880-85; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; Forman 1967; RCAHMS 1984

Architecture Notes


Scottish Record Office:

GD/16/27/6 Contract between Lord Ogilvy and George Nicolsons concerning an estimate for building 'the foyr quarter of Airly'. 1563-4

GD/16/46/76 Accounts of repairs to churches and Manses 1806-07

GD/16/46/72 Accounts of money expended on Churches, Schools and Manses 1803-04

GD/16/46/105 Church repairs. 3 statements of the Earl of Airlie's expenditure 1842, 1845

GD/16/46/113 Note of Lord Airlie's expenditure on Churches. [1853] 1854

GD/16/46/33-115 Churches and Manses.

Building, rebuilding and repairs. Estimates, accounts, contrats and plans. 1671-1874


Owner: Earl of Airlie

Photographed by RCAHMS in 2010 on behalf of the Buildings of Scotland series.



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