14th Century castle that is still inhabited by the original family. Outstanding gardens and very interesting interior make this an excellent day out. Near Nairn.
Cawdor Castle dates from the late 14th century, having been built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor, with the ancient medieval tower built around the legendary holly tree – wherever you look, Cawdor Castle is steeped in intrigue and history.
The early Thanes of Calder
The early Thanes of Calder - an old spelling of the place name - were appointed Sheriffs and Hereditary Constables of the royal castle of Nairn. This fortification, founded by William the Lion in 1179 was sited to command the ford over the river Nairn near the sea, carefully controlling the coastal route between Inverness and Elgin.
That castle has since vanished without trace. The family had another residence at Old Calder which, according to the Exchequer accounts, was last repaired in 1398. Again, not much remains of that building apart from faint crop-marks.
It was at this time that the building of the present Cawdor Castle began
A new, more efficient site was chosen. The imposing, rectangular tower-house consisted of four storeys and a garret with one entrance to the outside world set at upper first floor level; the perfect design to keep out unwelcome visitors.
The ancient castle, which is home to the Cawdor family to this day, has evolved over 600 years and has been lovingly filled with beautiful furniture, fine portraits, intriguing objects and amazing tapestries.