Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing 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.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 50657 66316
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

remodelled 1858.

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

progress (1988).



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.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). 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 only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. 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 Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. 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 current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


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