Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire – Clan Irvine
Drum Castle is one of Scotland’s oldest tower houses and the historic home of Clan Irvine.
Known as one of the oldest castles in the country, the building can trace it’s origins back to the 13th century when the castle’s tower was designed by the medieval architect, Richard Cementarius. Having been built during such an early period, the Drum Castle is thought to be the third oldest tower house in Scotland and is said to have originally been constructed under the orders of King Alexander III.
The castle would pass to its most famous owners, the Irvines, during the 14th century when William de Irwyn was given control by Robert the Bruce in 1325 after helping the Scottish monarch during his struggles against England throughout the Scottish Wars of Independence. It would remain in the family’s possession for the next 600 years and would later become infamous after the Invine clan used it as a place to hide the outlaw, Gilderoy, as he was on the run from the authorities following crimes committed in the north-east of the country during the 17th century. After being caught, the Irvine family would be censured but would remain in control of their historic seat despite the charges brought against them.
Later that century, the castle would play an important role in the covenanting rebellions as it was raided and sacked three times. It would eventually be restored by the Irvines during the 19th century as Alexander Forbes Irvine of Drum brought the castle back to its former glory and added an arched entrance to the front of the building. He would be the last in the family to make any significant changes to the structure as it was sold by the family in 1975, shortly after a railway service which had connected the castle to nearby Aberdeen, ceased operation in 1951.
Today, the castle is owned by the national trust and is designated as a category-A listed property. It is open to visitors during certain months of the year and was visited by almost 50,000 people during 2019.