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Accessing Scotland's Past Project

Event ID 560597

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Accessing Scotland's Past Project


Corgarff Castle is a tower-house, located on sloping land to the south of the River Don. Built as a hunting-lodge in the mid-sixteenth century, it was converted into a Hanoverian garrison in 1748. The lodge was reputedly built by the Earl of Mar, but passed to the Forbes family soon after.

The castle is said to have been the scene of a terrible atrocity in 1571, when a party of Gordons, enemies of the resident Forbeses, burnt down the castle. Twenty-seven people were killed, including the wife of the laird, her family and servants.

By the eighteenth century, tower-houses were going out of fashion, and Corgarff's survival probably resulted from its strategic position. It was used by Jacobite troops during the '15 and '45 uprisings. It was following the Battle of Culloden in 1746 that the castle came into government hands, forming part of the route to the new Fort George.

The building was originally a three-storeyed tower-house, with a tall, vaulted hall on the first floor. Following the occupation of the castle by the government, another floor was inserted, to provide additional accommodation, and an eight-point curtain wall was constructed around the building, in a star-shape, with slits through which muskets could be fired.

The army left the building in 1831, and it was subsequently used as a whisky-still and accommodation for agricultural labourers, before being restored in the 1960s.

Text prepared by RCAHMS as part of the Accessing Scotland's Past project

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