16th century tower house, in Aberdeenshire, remodelled as fortified military barracks
with star-shaped wall in 1748. Restored interior of 200 years
ago has musket recesses, wide wooden bunks and large stone fireplaces.
Castle was built about 1530 by the Elphinstone family (who also
owned Venlaw Castle, among others) and leased to the Forbes. The
Forbes fueded with the Gordons, and the castle was nearly burned
to the ground in 1571, killing Margaret Forbes and 26 retainers
and servants. The attackers removed the wall stones that closed
off the bottom of the latrine chutes and lit them on fire, which burned the entire castle.
Erskine Earls then aquired the property in 1626, and it was used
as a mustering point by the Marquis of Montrose for his campaign
of 1645. Montrose made a wide swath through the scottish Castles,
including Huntly Castle and Ardvreck Castle before being drawn
and quartered in Edinburgh.
was burnt (again!) by Jacobites in 1689 to deny its use to the
government, and once more in 1716. Apparently sitting on a high
hill rendered is less susceptible to cannonfire and ballistas.
The Jacobites used it during the Rising of 1745, this time the
Forbes were forfeited and the castle fell into crown hands. In
1748, the government bought Corgarff and altered the buildings,
with the addition of the star shaped outworks, which were supremely
suited to defense. There is no part of the outer wall which is
not covered by two angles of fire.
castle was later used as a base to help stop illicit whisky distilling.
The floors are restored as they would have been used for a garrison,
including some artistic license in adding graffiti that might
have been there. When we visited, the castle was heated with authentic
peat fires. I had a headache for hours.
last occupants of Corgarff were two old women in 1890s. It was
restored in 1960 and handed to Historic Scotland for maintenance.
main tower is a 16th century tower house, rectangular in plan,
with four stories. Corgarff was modified by the government afte
rthe 2nd Jacobite rising, adding a single story builing to each
end, and building the star shaped wall, dotted with vertical gunloops.
It sits on a long rise, approached by a single road to guard the
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