Dated 1581, built for William Forbes of Corse. Partially ruined 4-storey, Z-plan castle with square tower to E and round tower to W. Mixture of yellow sandstone and granite random rubble walls with squared and tooled granite margins to openings and quoins. Corbelled projecting corner turrets and partial remains of crowstepped gable to E. Dated lintel and panel frames above main entrance to SE tower.
N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: central hall to centre, base course only of exterior wall extant. Round tower abutting to NW corner base course only extant. Main wall returns to outer left abutting SE entrance tower.
(REAR) ELEVATION: rear wall of 3-bay central hall. Bay to left intact to 2nd floor height, large rectangular window opening to 1st floor. Advanced circular stair tower to centre bay, arrowloop fenestration, intact to eaves height.
E (SIDE) ELEVATION: 2-broad bays, advanced SE square tower to left, E elevation of main hall to right. 4-storey tower walls terminating in corbelled corner turret,s intact to eaves course, with largely intact crowstepped gable to centre terminating in coped chimney stack. Irregular small window openings. Main entrance to right return; small rectangular door opening, chamfered margins, dated lintel inscribed 'WF 1581 SS [?]', cushion moulded frames to rectangular and larger ogee-arched panels above. Lower part of step-corbelled stair turret to re-entrant angle. E wall of hall to right intact to eaves height, corbelled corner turret to right, large rectangular window opening to 1st floor.
W (SIDE) ELEVATION: wall intact to eaves height, Small window openings to 1st and 2nd floor.
INTERIOR: window openings, doorways, fireplaces and wall plates for lost timber floors evident on walls within ruinous interior space.
Statement of Special Interest
Scheduled Ancient Monument. A remarkable survival of the compact 16th century, Scottish Z-plan castle. These relatively small scale castles, particularly well represented in Aberdeenshire, were the fortified homes of the minor aristocracy, regionally powerful landowner and successful merchant. As such they differ in function and design from the larger castles of the royal and political class, the need being for family comfort and security against a lawless country as opposed to the garrisoning and martialling of troops. Hence the single small entrance to the castle and absence of windows on the ground floor but provision of large, elegant windows to the 1st floor where the main hall was located. When the previous house was sacked by brigands in the early 16th century William Forbes of Corse vowed, "if God spares my life I shall build a house at which thieves shall knock ere they enter". One of William's sons later became Bishop Patrick Forbes of Aberdeen (1564-1635) who took over and completed nearby Craigievar Castle (see separate listing). The castle remains the property of the Forbes family.