Rait Castle

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Rait Castle
Rait Castle.jpg
Ruins of Rait Castle
Rait Castle is located in Highland
Rait Castle
Rait Castle
Coordinates 57°32′58″N 3°51′00″W / 57.5494°N 3.8499°W / 57.5494; -3.8499Coordinates: 57°32′58″N 3°51′00″W / 57.5494°N 3.8499°W / 57.5494; -3.8499
Site information
Owner Earl Cawdor[1]
Site history
Built 13th century
Materials Granite[2]
Runis of Rait Castle in winter

Rait Castle is a ruined hall-house castle dating from the thirteenth century, situated just south of Nairn near Inverness, Scotland.[3] It is a scheduled ancient monument.[4]


The remains of the courtyard walls are nine feet high and also contain the remains of the Chapel of St Mary of Rait.[5] The building was a two story building, measuring 20 metres by 10 metres.[6] It had an unvaulted basement and an upper hall.[6] The hall was entered from the outside and was protected by a portcullis and a drawbar.[6] The walls of the castle are nearly 6 feet thick.[2] A tower projects from one corner of the castle and there is a garderobe tower on the west side that projects nearly 13 feet.[2]


The castle was originally a property of the Comyn family, who took the name of de Rait.[1] Sir Alexander Rait killed the third Thane of Cawdor (chief of Clan Calder), and then fled south where he married the heiress of Hallgreen.[3] The castle later passed from the de Raits to the Mackintosh family and then to the Campbell family.[3]

In 1442,[1] when the castle passed to the Mackintoshes from the de Rait family, a feast was held at the castle between the two families which ended in the slaughter of most of the Comyns and de Raits.[7] The laird blamed his daughter who he chased around the castle.[7] She climbed out of a window but he chopped off her hands and she fell to her death.[7] The castle is said to be haunted by her ghost,[7] with no hands.[1]

The Duke of Cumberland is said to have stayed at the castle before the Battle of Culloden in 1746,[3] although the last recorded reference to the castle was in 1596.[2]

American singer Bonnie Raitt is a descendant of the Rait clan, and visited Rait Castle in 1990.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Mackenzie, Steven (BBC Highlands and Islands reporter). Haunted castle: The ruin with a colourful past, 14 May, 2013 bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Rait Castle - Archeological Notes rcahms.gov.uk. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Coventry, Martin. (2008). Castles of the Clans: The Strongholds and Seats of 750 Scottish Families and Clans. pp. 486. ISBN 978-1-899874-36-1.
  4. ^ "Rait Castle SM1235". Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 12 October 2017. 
  5. ^ Save Rait Castle saveraitcastle.org. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Rait Castle - Architecture saveraitcastle.org. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d Coventry. (2008) pp. 383.
  8. ^ Italie, Hillel (14 December 1991). "Bonnie Raitt discovers her roots". Lawrence Journal-World. Associated Press. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 

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