Fraser Castle (Scotland)

Aberdeenshire     See list of castles in Scozia

The Castle Fraser origins back to 1400 half when James II took over the estates of the county of Mar and broke them into smaller baronies, each of which has granted an advocate of confidence. On October 29, 1454 James II granted the lands around Muchall and Stoneywood to Thomas Fraser, which in part-exchange surrendered to the Crown his lands to the touch and Cornton, west and north of Stirling, respectively.

It 'possible that a castle existed here since then, but if not, Thomas Fraser proceeded rapidly to ensure grip on his new barony with the construction of a rectangular tower three-story house, which today continues to be the core of the castle . At that time he was known as Muchill-in-Mar Castle.

The Fraser prospered in their new environment. By 1570, the then Laird, Michael Fraser, has started work on a major upgrade and expansion of what was then probably feeling a residence very dated and quite small: and one that certainly were not able to offer the prestige necessary to reflect what the Fraser would have felt to be their rightful place in society.

the original plan of Michael Fraser seems to have been to extend the area covered by commissioning Thomas Leiper master mason to build offset by a northwest corner of the existing castle, which became known as the "Michael Tower" a large tower. Perhaps inspired by work in progress for other Aberdeenshire castles at the time, or perhaps influenced by his Mason, he plans then grew to include a second additional tower. This was to be the big circular tower that is now located in a southeast corner of the original castle and the result, with towers added opposite corners of the existing structure, it was a classic tower house "Z-plan".

Among the added decorative motifs outside the castle were a series of overtly Catholic origins, a rare and rather brave to do in a post-Reformation in Scotland, and perhaps a reflection of the power enjoyed by the Frasers in the wider area . The work on the two new towers was still incomplete at the time of Michael's death in 1588. The son of Michael Andrew took the project into adulthood to achieve in 1592, and by 1618 had completed the expansion his father had started. Andrew used as his master mason John Bell, who made his mark at the foot of the large coat of arms panel that has been added to the north wall of the tower, in the form of a coded message which probably means "the mason John Bell made me ".

During the time the family fortunes Andrew Fraser reached their highest point, and was named 1st Lord Fraser before, in 1630, the construction of two new wings which extends north from the castle and enclosing a courtyard. For all intents and purposes, 190 years after the Fraser have been granted the possessions here, Castle Fraser was recognizable the building you see today: although still commonly known at the time as Castle Muchill in March

The fortunes of the Fraser, and their castle, took a series of shocks during the rest of 1600. The 2nd Lord Fraser, another Andrew, who inherited the estate in 1636, has been a strong opponent of the efforts of Charles I to impose a pattern on the anglican Church in Scotland and became an avid Covenanter: making him in some eyes a rebel against the king.

How Covenanter, Andrew Fraser has taken a direct hand in the early stages of the conflict, leading the sacking of the Episcopal Palace of Aberdeen. In retaliation, royalist forces under Lord Aboyne attacked Castle Fraser and, although they failed to capture him, they were able to destroy the crops and farm buildings on the estate. Worse followed in 1644 when the leader of the Royalist forces in Scotland, James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, attacked, captured and sacked Muchill-in-Mar Castle.

The 3rd Lord Fraser (yet another Andrew) inherited in 1656, but was not able to restore the fortunes of the family or the estate. When his son Charles became 4th Lord Fraser in 1674 he has canceled the family debts with the transfer of ownership of the castle and the estate of John Erskine, Earl of Mar, who was related by marriage.

In exchange, he was allowed to continue to live in the castle of Fraser. As a result of this agreement, however, was tied for life at sea, be obliged to support pro-unionist position del Mar during the act of debate and voting by the Union in the Scottish Parliament in 1707. It 'he was also forced to support the Earl of Mar when the latter raised its standards for the Jacobite cause during the 1715 revolt. Following the defeat of the uprising, Charles Fraser became a fugitive and the following year, while still on the run, has died after falling from a cliff in Pennan.

As Charles Fraser died without heirs, the title of Lord Fraser passed to the heirs of his wife from his first marriage, and through a complicated over three more generations the castle series of legacy ended in 1787 in the hands of Miss Elyza Fraser, a spinster in the his 50 years. What has inherited since 1695 had officially been called Castle Fraser, and was Elyza that after a 150 year hiatus, began a new cycle of modernization of the castle.

His designated successor was his nephew, Alexander Mackenzie, who adopted the name of Alexander Mackenzie Fraser, but as he pre-deceased Elyza, Fraser castle passed to his son, Charles Mackenzie Fraser. Charles was an officer of the army the Duke of Wellington during the Napoleonic Wars. Charles has taken a number of construction projects in and around the courtyard of the Castle Fraser and as for the interior layout of the castle.

Two generations, though, and the Castle Fraser was empty and increasingly abandoned. The estate was inherited by Thomas Fraser Fraser Croft, who rose through the Catholic priesthood to become Privy Chamberlain to the Pope in the Vatican, and Castle Fraser has been put for sale. E 'was purchased in 1921 by the 1st Viscount Cowdray as a suitable project of renovation and home for his second son, Clive Pearson.

Clive Pearson has worked to restore Castle Fraser to its former glory until 1946, when she gave birth to her second daughter, Lavinia. Together with her husband, Major Michael Smiley, Lavinia continued the restoration work until, in 1976, gave Castle Fraser and 26 acres of surrounding land to the National Trust for Scotland. The NTS has purchased another 320 acres of land in 1993, allowing the castle once more to sit as an integral part of a much larger estate.

Today's visitor to Castle Fraser is a building that, apart from some backyard, family details appear on the 1st Lord Fraser, at the time of his death in 1636. The entrance is through the door on the south side of the castle which leads directly Laigh in the vaulted room. From here you can explore a surprisingly large part of the castle. By Laigh room for the first time to visit the kitchen Michael, on the ground floor of the Tower Michael. Meanwhile, steps lead to the large first-floor room, the most dominant space in the castle, and one that many owners of one time or another altered, either in detail or more substantial.

Moving on from the great room, along a corridor to the dining room takes you from the castle to the palace. Other scales, this time in the round tower, will bring higher and higher, to the green room and pink room, two bedrooms. Above them the fifth and sixth floors of the round tower, is the living room of Lavinia Smiley and Smiley greater room, which to commemorate the last owners of the castle. Actually they preferred to live in the stable block of the castle, but the first room reflects the interests of Lavinia Smiley as an artist, writer and photographer, while the major Smiley room has a totally more masculine. This is perhaps the installation reminds one of the few Allied prisoners of war to escape from Colditz Castle during World War II and a man who, after following married Lavinia, he turned his attentions to run the estate and its famous breeding of dairy cattle.

Continuing further round tower that stands out on its roof, which offers a magnificent view of the castle itself and the seal. To continue the tour to make your way back to the level of the pink room and back into the main body of the castle where the great library. Through the library it takes you into the upper reaches of the Michael Tower. Here there are two tower rooms and two rooms of the tower, one of which serves as the trophy room, and from there your tour then becomes a descent one and follow the stairs up to the bedroom known as the room worked and the bedroom North bed. Even lower and you get to the chapel, a vaulted room in stone whose real purpose may have been to store cards and acts of valor.

After finishing the tour of the castle through the shop and tea room, it is worth remembering you still have a large enclosed garden and hundreds of acres of estate to explore the surrounding!

Images of the castle

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Useful infos

Latitude: 57.2030128
Longitude: -2.4607763
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Map of Fraser Castle