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Midmar Castle

Country House (Period Unassigned), Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Midmar Castle

Classification Country House (Period Unassigned), Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Midmar Castle Policies; Harlaw Castle

Canmore ID 18527

Site Number NJ70NW 13

NGR NJ 70452 05247

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/18527

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Midmar
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Gordon
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Recording Your Heritage Online

Midmar, 1570-5, George Bell. One of the largest and most harmonious of Aberdeenshire's many châteaux. On terrace

above the Gormack Burn, Z-plan formed from massive square, four-storey central block with six-storey circular battlemented bedroom stack and four-storey-and-attic square tower with turrets - prototype of Fraser? Precious survival

in being almost continuously uninhabited from 1842 to 1977, although kept wind- and watertight. 18th-century interiors, particularly c.1733 panelling, intact, including the elegant 1796 dining room.

Anciently, Ballogie, one of sublime family of Bell châteaux in Gordon - Cluny, Fraser, Craigievar, Pitfichie(?), Lickleyhead -

characterised by sure-footed massing of blocks, lightness and airyness of upperworks. Squinch arch at level of corbel table of main block carries upper part of stair of great bedroom stack: all remarkably spare and light for its bulk, eschewing the exuberance of the upperworks of Fraser.

Recalcitrance of George Gordon of Midmar and Abergeldie (Deeside) at nearby Battle of Corrichie led to forfeiture of land, 1562. It was restored three years later and G Bell worked from 1565 to his death 10 years later. Lower floors at least hint of the earlier tower (gunloops) destroyed by Mary; attacked again, 1594, after Gordon defeat at Glenlivet. Repairs post-1602. In 1728 bought by Alexander Grant and became known as Grantsfield: 1730 remodelling, two low wings added to north (north-west wing probably 17th century judging by stone dormer-heads) to create small courtyard, terraced owing to fall of land (cf contemporary work at Castle Grant, Grantown on Spey). Restored for dwelling, 1977-80.

Taken from "Aberdeenshire: Donside and Strathbogie - An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Ian Shepherd, 2006. Published by the Rutland Press http://www.rias.org.uk

Archaeology Notes

NJ70NW 13.00 70452 05247

NJ70NW 13.01 70420 05290 Outbuilding

NJ70NW 13.02 70441 05240 Sundial

NJ70NW 13.03 70496 05246 Walled garden

NJ70NW 13.04 70283 05435 Barnyards of Midmar (mansion-house of the estate)

(NJ 7044 0525) Midmar Castle (NAT)

OS 6" map, (1959)

Midmar Castle, of the late 16th/early 17th century (probably .1570, is a 'Z' type castle with a square keep and diagonally opposed towers. The original building was burnt in 1593, and later reconstructed.

G M Fraser 1927; S Cruden 1960.

(Location cited as NJ 7044 0525; classified as Site of Regional Significance). Standing structure on shelf at altitude of 170m OD. Midmar Castle, built probably c. 1570 by architect George Bell (died 1575). Z-plan with small keep and diagonally opposed towers. The original building was built in 1593 and later reconstructed. Small bath-house adjoining round tower now removed. Reharled c. 1977 and recently restored.

[Newspaper, periodical and magazine articles listed].

NMRS, MS/712/35.

Architecture Notes

NMRS REFERENCE:

Owner: A.S Rankin factor - Cluny Estates Office

Architect: Mason was George Bell, d.1575

EXTERNAL REFERENCE:

National Library - Country Life Jan 5th 1945 - article and photograph

Plans:

Drawings at Woodedge, Fairfield, Shawford, Winchester, Hants

Measured and by Simpson Low. Measured with H.H. Reid - plans, elevations and sections.

Students of Aberdeen School of Architecture 1914-20

Drawings at c/o Duthie, Aberdeen (see paper catalogue)

Measured and drawn by Wm Doig. Measured with Gordon Smart. - plan, elevations & details

Students of Aberdeen School of Architecture. 1940

Drawings at Aberdeen (see paper catalogue)

Measured and drawn by R.R. Alexander. Measured with R.S. Lawrie - details and complete plans.

Wm. Glashan & P.S Leask (students as above) 1920-25

"Pugin Studentship Drawings" by G. Washington Browne (c/o Duthie) - 1 plan, 2 plates

Activities

Photographic Survey (1960)

Photographic survey of the exterior of Midmar Castle, Aberdeenshire in 1960.

Photographic Survey (April 1961)

Photographs of Midmar Castle and a bee-skip in the garden (originally the bellcote of Midmar Parish Church), Aberdeenshire, by the Scottish National Buildings Record in April 1961.

References

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