Brahan Castle

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Alternative Names Brahan Castle Policies
Site Type CASTLE
Canmore ID 12867
Site Number NH55SW 5
NGR NH 5116 5458
Former Region HIGHLAND
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Architectural Notes

ARCHITECT: Alexander Ross-additions
Sir Joseph Paxton-layout of flower garden before 1883

Demolished to first floor level and filled in as garden feature c.1953. Ruins classed as Category B Listed building. Information from Demolitions catalogue held in RCAHMS Library.


Account for repairs and minor alterations. James Brand, mason.
1869 GD46/18/162

Accounts of plans and surveys
1786-1787 GD46/1/413

Specification of improvements concerns the old and new dining rooms, hall, billiard room and kitchen quarters. Estimate by J MacKenzie and James Branden.
1830 GD46/1/480

Masons' and Joiners' accounts for building work. Alexander Squair- architect.
1816-1819 GD46/1/433

Estimate: Taking down small house N side of Castle; Building an arch with Hewn stones; Taking down roofs in front of Castle to level of 1st storey & outside platform and stair.
Alterations to kitchen premises; Lanhorn light on top of new Billiard Room; Sketch plan-alterations to kitchen premises. Architect: Peter Kingeen?
1829 GD46/1/468

(Sculptor unnamed). Carving on stone. The cyphers and coronet of Margaret 1st Countess of Seaforth. lady Hood MacKenzie, in her letter refers to the recent uncovering of the carving near Brahan Castle.
1816 GD46/15/9

Building work done at Brahan Castle. Accounts and receipts.
Mason: William McCulloch
Measurer: John Scott, mason
Architect: James McLaren
1787-1792 GD46/1/417

Repair work at Brahan Castle. Note of payments made to tradesmen.
Accounts and receipts.
The work concerns the Billiard room and Kitchen offices.
Mason: William MacKenzie
Architect: Alexander Squair
1816-19 GD46/1/433

Alterations and repairs to Brahan Castle. Letter from W H Playfair (1790- 1857); He is pleased to be asked to advise on the alterations to Brahan Castle but he cannot leave Edinburgh until next April. He asks J A Stewart MacKenzie if he still wishes a sketch of a bookcase and whether the Library is to be considered at the same time as the other alterations.
1821 GD46/17/58

Building the (kitchen) wing at Brahan Castle. Letter from Peter Fairbairn to Col. MacKenzie. He writes that he is hurrying the preparations for building the wing and he awaits Col. MacKenzie's instructions.
1796 GD46/17/15

Chimney piece. Letter to Col. MacKenzie from John Bacon, (sculptor) (1740 -1799). he apologises for the delay over the chimney piece and outlines the problems.
1796 GD46/17/4/page 337

Building the kitchen wing at Brahan Castle. Letter that accompanied Douglas's estimates. Peter Fairbairn to Col. MacKenzie.
1796 GD46/17/15

The East Front of the new Kitchen wing of Brahan Castle. Two elevations have been sent to Col. MacKenzie.
1. The original design agreed on with additional height of 3rd storey.
2. Differs only in that there is a break in the middle with turrets. Douglas and Meikle suggest that 2 is an improvement because of the height and length of the wing. Letter from Peter Fairbairn to Col.MacKenzie.
1796 (Plan 2 approved 24 March 1796 Letter) GD46/17/15

Plans and surveys.
Receipt from David Aitken for plans of the Mains and Policy of Brahan.
1786-87 GD46/1/413

Minor alterations and repairs at Brahan Castle. Account for the work. It amounts to ?113.5.8
Mason: James Brand
1869 GD46/18/162

Repairs and alterations to Brahan Castle.
Report of work included in letters from William Laidlaw, Factor at Brahan, to J A Stewart MacKenzie M.P. and Mrs Stewart MacKenzie.
1832 GD46/1/378

Plan of part of (Brahan Castle). It shows dining room and drawing room, and a rough outline of billiard room.
N.D. GD46/1/588

Outline description of Brahan castle. it notes that the Ground floor has a Banqueting room with valuable pictures.
The description is included in particulars of the Seaforth Estate, which is to be let.
1838 GD46/3/14

Demolition and alterations at Brahan Castle. plan, memoranda and estimates. The plan shows the Kitchen premises and estimates concern demolition of a house and parts of other houses which face the castle.
1829 GD46/1/468

Estimates for demolition work at Brahan Castle. 'To taking down a small house on the North side of the Castle and building an arch with hewn stones and harling the walls ?29.5.0'
'To taking down the roofs in front of the castle to the level of the 1st storey and outside platform and stair and taking down slates and roof and windows and the old stair wall to the level of the 1st storey ?44d.'
1829 GD46/1/468

Building improvements at Brahan Castle. They concern the old and new dining room, the old drawing room now an anteroom, hall, new staircase on the South Front, billiard room and kitchen premises. Specification, notes, particulars of the estimate required from James Branden, mason, and estimates for carpenter and mason work from J MacKenzie and James Branden.
1830 GD46/1/480

Notes and Activities

Archaeological Notes

NH55SW 5.00 5116 5458

(NH 5116 5458) Brahan Castle (NAT)
OS 6"map, (1962)

Brahan Castle (NAT) (Ruin)
OS 1"map, (1962)

Brahan Castle was erected by Colin, first Earl of Seaforth in 1611. Prior to 1837 the castle was modernised to the extent of detracting from its castellated appearance.
ISSFC 1926

All that survives of Brahan Castle is a now ornamental wall representing the N wall of the 19th c extensions. The remainder was bulldozed away in 1965. From photographs in the possession of Capt A F Matheson (Brahan House) the house was a 19th c mansion comprising a S block, with E and W wings extending to the N and flanking a walled court. No definite fabric of the 17th c castle is evident in the photographs. The house was occupied until the 1950s. Several heraldic panels from the castle are preserved at Brahan House. According to Matheson, plans of the original castle and the proposed 19th c. extensions are held by a Mr R Tyler, Meesden Hall, Brent Pelham, Buntingford, Herts.
Visited by OS (J B) 24 April 1975.

Books and References

Craven, J B (ed.) (1886) Journals of the episcopal visitations of the Right Rev. Robert Forbes M A of the dioceses of Ross and Caithness and of the dioceses of Ross and Argyll, 1762 and 1770, with a history of the episcopal church in the diocese of Ross, chiefly during the 18th century and a memoir of Bishop R Forbes, London
Page(s): pp 159-160 Held at RCAHMS D.20.CRA.R

ISSFC (1926d) 'Excursion to Brahan Castle', Trans Inverness Sci Soc Fld Club, vol.9
Page(s): 338

MacGill, W (1909) Old Ross-shire and Scotland as seen in the Tain and Balnagown Documents {Volume 1}, Inverness
Page(s): 127-8, No 340 Held at RCAHMS D.6.4.MAC

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