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Castle Fraser, Stable Block

Office(S) (Period Unassigned), Stable(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Castle Fraser, Stable Block

Classification Office(S) (Period Unassigned), Stable(S) (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Castle Fraser Estate; Castle Fraser Policies; Stableblock; Castle Fraser Stables

Canmore ID 73876

Site Number NJ71SW 6.01

NGR NJ 72029 12446

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Recording Your Heritage Online

Castle Fraser Stables, 1795. Quadrangular, two storeys to east, one to west, in coursed square rubble with cherry-cocking. Circular angle-towers at once raise the structure and help to pin it to the earth. All in all, remarkably mellow and manorial. Converted to mansion, 1970s; NTS offices, 1994.

Taken from "Aberdeenshire: Donside and Strathbogie - An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Ian Shepherd, 2006. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NJ71SW 6.01 72029 12446

1795. Quadrangular, two storeys to east, one to west, in coursed square rubble with cherry-cocking. Circular angle-towers at once raise the structure and help to pin it to the earth. All in all, remarkably mellow and manorial.

Converted to mansion, 1970s; NTS offices, 1994.

I Shepherd 1994.

NJ 7202 1245 A watching brief was carried out in April 2001 during the excavation of a drainage trench alongside the S exterior wall of the S range of the late 18th-century stables and estate offices courtyard, which now forms the NTS NE Regional Office and tenanted accommodation.

The S range was designed as a threshing barn with corn-drying kiln; documentary sources suggest that a whin mill may have been positioned immediately to the S, the millstone for which lies near the site. Water power seems to have been introduced in the early 19th century, with a water wheel erected against the S wall of the barn possibly before 1816. An overshot wheel is likely to have powered a threshing machine through the mid-19th century; by 1899 a wooden building had been erected around the water wheel to house a sawmill. This structure remained in place until it was demolished at some point between 1923 and 1946.

The drainage trench exposed a section of the wheel pit, as well as two courses of a well-built wall of dressed granite blocks, bonded with lime mortar and a bituminous waterproofing material, representing part of the E retaining wall of the pit. Residual material included 18th-century salt-glazed stoneware and 19th-century slip-glazed earthenware.

Report to be lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsor: NTS.

S M Fraser 2001b

NJ 720 124 Stable block. A carved sandstone panel set into the external wall of the late 18th-century stables, over the main entrance pend, has been identified as the sinister unicorn supporter of a pre-1603 royal coat of arms of Scotland. It is possible that this fragment came from a coat of arms once mounted on the walls of Castle Fraser.

A decorative lead urn of classical style, which sits in the central courtyard of the stable block, has been identified as the finial which once crowned the lantern cupola on the dome of a grand staircase on the N wall of Castle Fraser. The staircase was erected in 1826-7 as the formal access from the ground-floor entrance hall to the Great Hall on the first floor, and was demolished in the mid-1940s. Decorated with a garland and surmounted by a stylised pine cone, the urn is 65cm high with a diameter of 31cm. It stands on a square base, from which protrude the remains of the lead ribs and roofing of the cupola. Before being moved to the stables courtyard, the urn stood in a garden immediately to the S of the stable block.

Archive to be deposited in NTS SMR.

Sponsor: NTS.

S M Fraser 2003


Photographic Survey (September 1961)

Photographic survey of Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire, by the Scottish National Buildings Record/Ministry of Works in September 1961.

Field Visit (May 1996 - May 1996)

B007 Stables Listed Cat. A

Designed in 1794 by Edinburgh architect, John Paterson and part of the estate improvements carried out by Miss Elyza Fraser. Quadrangular in form with circular angle-towers at the corners: two storeys on the south side and one storey on the north and east. The entrance to the courtyard is via a one-storey high segmental arch in the east elevation. A second single storey range lies to the west, connected by a rubble dyke pierced by a semi-circular arched passage, over which runs the mill channel, previously described. Dressed granite with slate roofs.

The Stables appears on Thomas White's plan, evidently depicting Paterson design, although oriented with the arched entrance to the south, with a circular enclosure to the north. It is positioned similarly to its final built location, on the site of the former Mains, although a new west approach avoids it in a wide sweep to the south.

The 1799 plan and subsequent plans and maps show the Stables, including the west addition, in its present location.

(CAF96 B007) Information from (BNM) March 2014

Watching Brief (4 August 2011 - 31 August 2011)

A watching brief was carried out, 4 August–31 August 2011, during the removal of contaminated soil in the yard between the 1795 Stable Block and the E wall of the freestanding W building. A stone-built drain probably associated with the 18th-century block was revealed and planned. The foundations of a 19th-century blocking wall between the two buildings were also uncovered.

Report: Aberdeenshire Council SMR, the National Trust for Scotland and RCAHMS

Funder: The National Trust for Scotland

Murray Archaeological Services Ltd 2011

Information also reported in Oasis (mas1-113820) 23 January 2012


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