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Due to scheduled maintenance work by our external provider, background aerial imagery on Canmore may be unavailable

between 12:00 Friday 15th December and 12:00 Monday 18th December


Ardblair Castle

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Ardblair Castle

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Canmore ID 28875

Site Number NO14SE 1

NGR NO 16358 44530

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2023.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Blairgowrie
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NO14SE 1.00 16358 44530

NO14SE 1.01 16370 44528 Sundial

NO14SE 1.02 16351 44515 Sundial

See also NO14SE 5.

(NO 1636 4453) Ardblair Castle (NR)

OS 1:10000 map (1982)

Architecture Notes


OWNER: Laurence Oliphant.

ARCHITECT: Mills & Shepherd - alterations 1955.


Photographic Survey (1955)

Photographic survey by the Scottish National Buildings Record in 1955.

Field Visit (21 March 1963)

The oldest part of Ardblair Castle is clearly that at the NW corner of the present building, and the gateway bearing the coat of arms with date 1688 mentioned by Tranter. At the NW corner of the courtyard is an ornamented doorway with a much weathered coat of arms; above and over this is an alcove ornamented with allegorical figures.

In the centre of the courtyard is a sundial bearing the date 1623 and with 25 dials.

Visited by OS (RDL) 21 March 1963.

Publication Account (1963)

Ardblair Castle has been little altered externally since its erection and retains the courtyard form so popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. Origninally it was a strong place and was once almost surrounded by a loch, now largely drained.

The earliest part of the building is a tall L-planned fortalice forming the N and W corner of the courtyard. A heraldic pediment bears the date 1688 but Tranter considers the work to be earlier and more typical of the late 16th or early 17th century.

N Tranter 1963

Publication Account (1980)

The original castle was built by the Blairs during the Norman period, on the site of a fort. The fortalice at the NW corner is built on the foundation of part of the earlier castle.

Scots Mag August 1980

Field Visit (18 April 1989)

This L-plan tower-house, which is probably of late 16th- or early 17th-century date, occupies the NW corner of a courtyard, with later ranges (17th century and later) on three sides, and a screen-wall on the N, the latter incorporating an arched gateway surmounted by a pediment dated 1688.

The tower stands three storeys and an attic in height and, although remodelled, retains some original detail including, in the re-entrant angle, a fine pedimented Renaissance doorway and armorial niche (with lavishly-decorated margin and unicorn finial). Tranter interprets the boulder-footings of the tower-house as the remains of an earlier castle. A polyhedron dial-head (1623) is set on a modern pedestal within the courtyard.

In the reign of Robert III (1390-1406), the lands of Ardblair were granted to Thomas Blair of Balthayock, remaining with his family until 1792, when the estate passed to the Oliphants of Gask.

Visited by RCAHMS (IMS) 18 April 1989.

Reg Mag Sig; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; N Tranter 1962-70.


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