Dated 1604-7, probably by John Bell of the Aberdeenshire family of masons; mid 18th century wings; porch 1834-6, John Smith, Aberdeen. 5-storey tower house (4 storeys to E) orientated E-W,with entrance at W and 2-storey wings (1746-63) projecting N and S, enclosing narrow service courts. Pink harled rubble with Turriff sandstone ashlar dressings, margins and pronounced angle quoins.
WEST FRONT: U-plan with advanced wings rising to link supporting wallhead balcony with ornately corbelled arch carved frontage. Underside of arch vault reveals simulated painted ribbed vault (original and rare).
Square corbelling at outer angles for intended (but not constructed) bartizans. Balustraded central platform crowns roof space between gables.
Centre porch of 1834-6 with Tudoresque Baronial detailing; round-headed entrance. Flanking plaques, to left arms of John Urquhart, 1537-1631, builder of Craigston, and at right, datestone recording construction of central tower block, 1604-7.
2-storey, 4-bay flanking wings, the windows grouped in pairs.
EAST GARDEN FRONT: 4-bay frontage with long 1st floor windows and very small lights below wallhead; regular fenestration: windows at SE separated more widely from closely grouped other 3 bays. 2-storey, 3-bay wings. Vestigial bartizan corbelling as at W entrance front.
GENERAL: multi-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows; end stacks, those of 1604-7 with deep moulded cornices. Crowstepped gables; crenellated stringcourse across N, S and W gables. In S courtyard panels with royal arms and those of Seton: parallel wings of S courtyard linked by short wall and centre entrance, above which re-used dormer pediment, perhaps from Cromarty Castle (16th and 17th centuries).
'CHAPEL': 1766-76 incorporating earlier work. Long single storey store of 2 rooms linked to N service court by wall pierced by entrance. Pink harled, red Turriff dressings. slate roof; flat skews; run-off skewputts; apex ball finials.
INTERIOR: main stair leads direct to 1st floor; 1st floor original
Great Hall divided into Ante Room and Drawing Room in mid 18th century, re-decorated in early 19th. Unusual profusion of remarkable carved wooden panels set in doors and window shutters of Ante-Room, Drawing Room and Lobby; these probably of 17th century origin.
ROOM AND DRAWING ROOM: formerly single Great Hall; re-decorated by John Smith (1834-36) with deep coffered ceilings, carved skirting, doorcases and other wood work. White marble chimneypiece in Drawing Room, pink granite in ante-room.
DINING ROOM: probably completed 1763, in NW wing. Chimneypiece and cornice of this date, though proportions and cornice marred to accommodate later lobby and pantry.
2nd FLOOR: remodelled in later 18th century to accommodate bedrooms; Red or South Room with fine pink and white Islay marble chimneypiece.
Statement of Special Interest
The central tower house of Craigston castle was constructed by John Urquhart (1547-1631, youngest son of Alexander Urquhart of Cromarty), who owned the lands of Craigston from at least 1597. Plaque to right of main entrance reads:- 'THIS VARK FOVNDIT YE FOVTINE OF MARCH
ANE THOVSAND SEX HUNDER FOVR ZEIRIS AND ENDIT YE 8 OF DECEMBER 1607'. The Urquhart family have remained in possession of Craigston almost continuously for 400 years. For the most complete description of the building, additions, alterations and the policies of Craigston Castle, see H Gordon Slade, above. Other listed items on the Craigston estate are:- The Home Farm complex, Dovecote and the bridges over the Craigston Burn.
The Craigston Burn defines the boundary between King Edward and Turriff Parishes. The South Lodge, Craigston Castle is listed in Turriff Parish.