Scottish Castles Photo Library
- Edzell Castle, Angus

Edzell Castle

The earliest castle known at Edzell was built in the 1100s by the Abbotts who in turn were succeeded as lairds of Edzell by the Stirlings of Glenesk. In 1358 the daughter and heiress of Sir John Stirling married Sir Alexander Lindsay and the estate remained in the hands of the Crawford Lindsays for over 350 years.

The building seen today began with an L-shaped tower house (on the right of the illustration above) in the early 16th century, which provided accommodation for the Lindsay family. The west range (in the centre of the illustration) was built around 1553 and would have been complete by the time Mary Queen of Scots paid a visit in August 1562.

In 1604 Sir David Lindsay created the unique walled garden, which is such an attractive feature of Edzell. His second wife, Dame Isobel Forbes, no doubt contributed to the development - their coat of arms, initials and motto ("Dum Spiro Spero" - while I breathe, I hope) and the date 1604 still sits above the door to the garden from the east.

Sir David Lindsay died in 1610 but as a result of his extravagant tastes, he left his family with a large amount of debt. Cromwell's soldiers occupied Edzell castle in 1651 and did a lot of damage. The last Lindsay laird (yet another David) had to sell the estate in 1715 to repay debts and ended his days working in the stables in a local inn.

Eventually the Edzell estate passed to the 8th Earl of Dalhousie - an ancestor of the present owner. In the 19th century the ruin became a point of interest and a caretaker was appointed from at least 1879. In 1932 the garden was taken into State care by Historic Scotland.

See also Places to Visit - Edzell Castle for more information and illustrations.

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