Kellie Castle & Garden

Kellie Castle was completed around 1606, although the oldest tower dates back to 1360.


This ancient castle is brimming to the battlements with fascinating stories. It was once home to Robert the Bruce’s youngest daughter and later the Earls of Kellie. The 1st Earl saved the life of King James VI, while the 5th Earl fought at Culloden on the Jacobite side and then spent the entire summer of 1746 hiding in an old beech tree in the garden to avoid capture.

In 1878, Professor James Lorimer acquired the lease and began a desperately needed restoration project. His sons – the painter John Henry Lorimer and the architect Sir Robert Lorimer – spent much of their childhood at Kellie Castle, their family’s holiday home.

Sir Robert was a leading devotee of the Arts & Crafts movement and designed many highly acclaimed buildings across Scotland, including nearby Hill of Tarvit (also owned by the Trust). After his father’s death, Sir Robert took over the lease and continued the extensive renovations of the castle.

Robert’s son was the famous sculptor Hew Lorimer. In 1937, Hew and his wife Mary moved in, and when the Earl of Mar & Kellie died 20 years later, his successor sold the castle to them. The family finally owned the property they’d rented for three generations, and Hew and Mary continued to improve and conserve Kellie Castle for many years.

The Trust purchased Kellie Castle in 1970, after Mary Lorimer died.

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