Scottish Castles Photo Library
- Kilravock Castle, Nairn

Graphic copyright © Scotavia Images

The land on which Kilravock Castle stands has been owned by the Rose family since 1290, when Marie de Bosco married Hugo de Ros in 1290. The de Ros family originally came from Ros, near Caen in Normandy and had come over with William the Conqueror's brother, together with the de Boscos and de Bissets. All three families had moved from the south of England to the Moray Firth area in the middle of the 13th century. Kilravock has been the home of the chief of the Rose family to the present day.

Hugh, the 5th Baron of Kilravock, had to reconstruct the titles to the estate when all the original charters were lost when Elgin Cathedral was ransacked and burned by the infamous Wolf of Badenoch in 1390. It was the 7th Baron who built the tower which forms part of the present castle around 1460. In those days, stout walls were a necessity when your neighbours might descend on you, despite previous alliances. Treaties or not, the Mackintoshes captured the tower in 1482 - but gave it back not long after. A plan for a marriage with Muriella Calder, heiress to Cawdor Castle was thwarted when the Campbells carried her off. Eleven years later Muriella married Sir John Campbell, 3rd son of the Earl of Argyll - the Campbells own Cawdor to this day!

Unlike some of their neighbours, the Roses did not expand their territory by force and remained a small clan without a large membership to defend it, surviving more by diplomacy and alliances, even through some of the most turbulent periods of Scottish history. Of course, friends in high places never go amiss and Mary Queen of Scots, who visited Kilravock, regarded the 10th Baron as a trusted friend. Even so, she was not impressed by the rough nature of the castle, complaining that her bedroom had no fire place or plaster on the walls while the floor consisted of great coarse boards roughly sawn and nailed together! It was not until 1553 that the 10th Baron extended the building with a mansion house -apparently to accommodate his household of seventeen female dependants - sisters and daughters. When King James VI visited the castle, he is said to have treated the baron as a father, insisting that he did not need to remove his hat in the royal presence.

The Roses supported the government during the Jacobite uprising of 1715 and Arthur Rose was killed while leading some of his clan to capture Inverness. Prince Charles Edward Stewart was entertained at Kilravock on the eve of the Battle of Culloden - while the Duke of Cumberland stayed at Rose's town house in Nairn.

The building was further extended in 18th century and the Rose family still lives at Kilravock. In 1984 the 25th Baroness, Miss Elizabeth Rose, gave the castle and its immediate environs into the ownership of the Kilravock Castle Christian Trust. The castle is available for B&B, self-catering accommodation, functions, weddings and guided tours. In the summer, there is also a tea-room. See also the Kilravock Castle Web site.

Note: The photos of Kilravock Castle on this page are copyright Scotavia Images who provide a quality aerial photography service for Scotland. Prints from their large online gallery are available for purchase. If you have ancestors with a Scottish Highland origin, they can provide an aerial view of the area they came from!

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