Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NH 84718 49870
284718, 849870


Large rectangular courtyard castle, of varying dates,

enclosing original central mid-15th century 5-storey keep

(which incorporates earlier work); 16th century north and

west wings largely re-built 1760-74 to form substantial

L-plan range linked to central keep by square stair tower.

Further mid and late 19th century ranges fill south side of

square and flank curtain walled drawbridge on east side. All

rubble with ashlar dressings.

Centre keep tower has blocked round-headed entrance (now

window) and later regular fenestration. Crenellated parapet

carried up flush from wallhead, which is delineated by row of water-spouts; facetted angle bartizans corbelled out from

each corner, rising with conical slated roofs and gargoyle

water-spouts; wallhead garderobes; gabled caphouse with end


Central tower enclosed at west and north by long 3-storey

ranges (16th century, largely re-built 1760-74) with

pedimented dormers in north; vaulted ground floor with slit

windows; rectangular angle bartizan at NW; regular

fenestration; crowstepped gables. Corbelled round stair

turret with corbelled square crowstepped attic chamber at NE.

Projecting stair tower with similar corbelled attic chamber

at SW.

2-storey mid and later 19th century ranges south and east

(dated 1858 and 1884; architects, Thomas Mackenzie and

Alexander Ross). In east elevation the 1st floor windows

break wallheads in decorative pediments, breaking to flank

centre drawbridge entrance with angle pepperpot bartizans.

Multi-pane fenestration; crowsteps; corniced end and ridge

stacks; slate roofs.

Interior: original 1st floor great hall in centre keep, with

access from wheel stair, and with mural garderobe and

corbelled beamed ceiling; iron yett at ground floor entrance.

1672-4 great hall with joggled chimney lintel, corbelled

beamed ceiling and later gallery.

Blue room with early 18th century panelling, ornate chimney

piece dated 1667 with caryatids; moulded cornices; access to

bartizan at NW angle. Similar deep moulded cornices in yellow

drawing room.

Dining room with ornate chimney piece with date 1550 and

intertwined leaves.

Large square stair well with stone stairs. Range of vaulted

rooms in undercroft, including vaulted kitchen with well.

Statement of Special Interest

Built for Calders, Thanes of Calder or Cawdor from 11th

century, to whom a licence to build a castle was granted in

1454. Muriel Calder, heiress of Cawdor, was ward of 2nd Earl

of Argyll and married in 1510 to his 3rd son, Sir John

Campbell of Muckairn (Argyll) in whose family the property

remains as home of the Earls of Cawdor. Much 17th century

work by masons James and Robert Nicolson of Nairn. Datestone

at 17th century entrance and pediments, 1672 and 1674

respectively each with initials of Hugh Campbell of Cawdor

and Isabel Stewart his wife.

Yett said to have come from Lochindorb Castle.




OF SCOTLAND ii, (1887) pp.314-323.



George Bain, HISTORY OF NAIRNSHIRE (1893) pp. 176-8.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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