Craigston Castle, Turriff, Aberdeenshire is a historic home of the Urquhart family. It was built 1604-1607 by John Urquhart of Craigfintry, known as the Tutor of Cromarty. The castle is composed of two main wings flanking the entrance and connected by an elevated arch, and surmounted by a richly corbelled parapet, regarded by many as one of the finest examples in Scotland. There are bases for corner turrets near the top corner of each wing, but the turrets themselves do not appear to have ever been completed. The wood carvings in the drawing room depict biblical themes and Clan Urquhart heraldic artifacts.
It is now possible to get married or even stay at Craigston Castle which belongs to the Bell group of Scottish castles, forming according to H. Gordon Slade, “perhaps Scotland’s finest and the most distinctive contribution to Western architecture”. The castle is still owned and lived in by the Urquhart family, one of the oldest in Scotland that can be traced back to Adam Urquhart the sheriff of Cromarty in 1357. However, according to the great sir Thomas Urquhart, translator of Rabelais, the family can be traced back to Adam and Eve through Esormon, Prince of Achaia married to Narfesid, Sovereign of the Amazons, and one who found Moses in the bulrushes, as well as many other remarkable ancestors. This fantastic claim is symptomatic for the family’s fondness for the romantic and strange.
John Urquhart of Craigfintry, known as the Tutor of Cromarty built the castle in 1604 to 1607. It was built in a staggering 3 years and is one of the few Scottish castles where the client had a marked influence on the final project. The exposed Turriff sandstone emphasizes squareness and strength. Two main wings flanking the entrance and connected by an elevated arch, are surmounted by a richly Gothic inspired corbelled parapet, regarded by many as one of the finest examples in Scotland. There are bases for corner turrets near the top corner of each wing, but the turrets themselves were never completed. It was subsequently modified first in 1733 when Captain John Urquhart “the pirate” commissioned William Adam, the foremost architect of the time prepared a lay-out of grounds and designed the wings that were added in 1733-4. Then in 1838 John Smith (the architect of Balmoral) designed the new entrance doorway. Smith also designed a two storey addition which was not carried out at the time.
The Urquhart family have recently started to use the magnificent castle to host weddings and other events and are also letting it out as an exclusive use accommodation to interested parties. For more information please see www.craigston-castle.co.uk
- Craigston Castle - Official website
- Craigston Castle - Contact & Booking for self catering, bed & breakfast, weddings and other events
- Pictures of the castle
- Craigston castle, Scottish Places
- Urquhart family tree
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