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
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
Dining room with ornate chimney piece with date 1550 and
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.