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- Category: A
- Date Added: 22/02/1972
- Local Authority: Moray
- Planning Authority: Moray
- Parish: Cullen
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NJ 50657 66316
- Coordinates: 350657, 866316
Substantial turretted mansion of various builds now forming
extended Z-plan. 1602 tower house incorporating earlier fabric
and on earlier site; substantial late 17th, early and mid 18th
and mid 19th (David Bryce, 1858-9) century additions and
alterations. Divided as 13 separate residential units,
architect Douglas Forrest, Cullen, 1982-4; S and SW wings
damaged by fire, June 1987 and in course of restoration (1988).
Two to 4 storeys in height; rubble, some harling, tooled
and ashlar dressings, margins and crowsteps to gables.
Roughly L-plan tower house at SE angle with long wing to W of
pre 1602 origin. Latter given new S elevation with large windows
by David Bryce; N facing elevation to courtyard retains 17th
century details and earlier fabric with some regularisation of
the windows. The original entrance to the tower to courtyard
in tight angle at S of N-S range; roll moulded door (now
blocked with window), elaborate doorpiece with stylised,
waisted pilasters and heraldic medallions; diminutive angle
turrets near wallhead. To N, 1602 3-storey range with substantial inserted doorpiece by Bryce modelled on the early design
but with large rampant lions flanking. To N again
rectangular-plan block of 1711-14 partly remodelled by Bryce.
To W of W wing further 1711-14 additions also partly
The E facing range with nearly symmetrical main elevation.
Square tower at S of 1668 with some reworking; recessed bays
of 1602 origin; N tower of 1711-14 with ogee roofed angle
turrets and crenellations.
Windows in a variety of shapes mainly sash and case with small
panes excpet for Bryce's large inserted windows which are
plate glass. Numerous windows break wallhead with elaborate
dormerheads U-plan 2-storey service wings at N, including former kitchen, now divided as cottages and dwellings. 2 storeys,
harled, ashlar margined window and door openings.
Ridge, end and wallhead stacks of various dates; slate
INTERIOR: divided vertically in separate dwellings retaining
various original staircases and public rooms. Mid 18th century wrought-iron balustrade to former main staircase. Panelled
entrance hall with Dutch tiled fireplace.
Mid 18th century kitchen with moulded ceiling cornice now
converted as dwelling and architect's office.
Statement of Special Interest
Mansion sited on rocky bluff overlooking Cullen Burn.
Home of the Ogilvy family, Earls of Findlater and Seafield;
from 1811 by marriage with Grants of Castle Grant, the
Ogilvy-Grant family. Tower house built 1600-2 on site
traditionally connected with single storey range of cells
housing clergy of collegiate church, now the Old Parish
Church. Various generations of wealthy Earls of Seafield
commissioned the best architects of their day to change
and add to the mansion, Smith and McGill, 1709, John and
James Adam, James Playfair. Some of these plans may have
been executed in part, but hidden under subsequent
alterations; the principal surviving additions and
alterations are those in Scottish Baronial style by David
Bryce, 1858-9. Mansion sold in 1981 by Earl of Seafield
to Kit Martin who subsequently divided it into 13 separate
dwellings (Douglas Forest, architect). S and SW portion
badly damaged by fire June 1987. This destroyed the 1600-2
painted ceiling in former library; restoration now in
THE STATISTICAL ACCOUNT (1791, Witherington and Grant ed.
1982), p.126. Howard Colvin, A BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF
BRITISH ARCHITECTS, 1600-1840 (1978), pp,44, 46, 530-1. Marcus
Binney, 'Cullen House, Banffshire', COUNTRY LIFE, Dec.
19 and 26, 1985.
Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for the designation of buildings, monuments, gardens and designed landscapes and historic battlefields. We also advise Scottish Ministers on the designation of historic marine protected areas.
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