Magnificent castle dating from 14th century
Ethie Castle is most attractively situated, about ½ mile from the Angus coast and about 1½ miles south of Lunan Bay, which is a renowned and award winning beach. The castle sits within its own policies, and is surrounded by farmland. The garden and courtyard walls, together with the wooded grounds which have been supplemented by more recent plantings, ensure that the castle enjoys privacy as well as having an attractive setting.
This part of the Angus coastline is mainly red sandstone with notable cliffs, rock features and sandy bays. As well as Lunan Bay, popular beaches are found at Montrose and St Cyrus. There is an attractive coastal walk from Lunan Bay to Arbroath via Auchmithie. Fishing has long been associated with the area, especially in Arbroath, famous for its smokies, Auchmithie and Usan. Salmon were netted at Lunan Bay and at other fishing stations along the coast. The surrounding countryside is rolling fertile farmland and there are Nature Reserves at Montrose Basin and St Cyrus. Salmon and sea trout fishing is available on the North and South Esks. There are golf courses at Montrose and Arbroath with the championship course at Carnoustie within easy driving distance. Gleneagles and St Andrews are also easily reached.
The nearby village of Inverkeilor provides primary schooling and Gordon's is a well known and award winning restaurant. Private schooling is found at Lathallan (Johnshaven) or the High School of Dundee, together with Robert Gordon's College, the Albyn and St Margaret's School for Girls in Aberdeen, with children travelling daily by train from Montrose and Arbroath. Other private schools include St Leonards in St Andrews, Glenalmond and Strathallan.
The much improved A92 links Dundee with Arbroath and on to Montrose and Stonehaven. The A90 provides access to Aberdeen and from Dundee links to Perth, Edinburgh and the south. Dundee and Aberdeen provide all the services expected of major centres. There are train stations at Montrose and Arbroath with regular services to Aberdeen and to the south, including a sleeper. Aberdeen Airport has a range of domestic and European flights and there are services from Dundee to London Stansted. Edinburgh Airport is also easily reached.
Ethie Castle is a most imposing and historic castle. In recent years the castle has been carefully restored. It has evolved over the centuries from its ancient beginnings and, with its wings and towers, forms a magnificent residence of great character. Its association with Cardinal Beaton is still evident as the castle includes a small chapel and the Cardinal's Sitting Room, with its secret staircase to the Great Hall above. Architecturally the castle contains many fine features including four turnpike staircases, a balustraded tower, turrets and crow stepped gables. The barrel vaulted rooms, together with panelled rooms, decorative plaster work, fireplaces and window shutters all provide an insight into the history associated with the castle.
The principal rooms at Ethie provide grandeur and elegance, whilst the everyday living quarters are comfortable and manageable. The accommodation is arranged over three principal floors.
Within the last 12 years considerable improvements have been made, both within the castle and outside. The kitchen was refurbished in 2011 along with two bathrooms in the last eight years. The windows have been refurbished and the roof has been insulated and the house has been redecorated and carpeted. The castle has two kitchens. The vaulted kitchen, next to the dining room was completely re-fitted and refurbished in 2013/14 as was the master bedroom's en suite bathroom. Outside, the improvements are even more noticeable. The magnificent walled garden has been restored and the greenhouse refurbished. A further garden or parterre has been created next to the house, linked through new gates to the walled garden. Further landscaping has included the creation of a walk around the pond, paddocks have been re-fenced and a lime avenue, hedges and new woodland have been planted.
The shared private driveway leads past the north of the property and continues to gates to the courtyard to the side. From the driveway a gravel drive leads to the front door, to the west of the house.
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Ethie Castle is believed to date from the 14th century when a sandstone keep was built by the Abbot and monks of Arbroath Abbey.
After passing through the de Maxwell family, the lands reverted to the Abbey and the castle became the country residence of David Beaton, Abbot of Arbroath, who later became the Cardinal and Chancellor of Scotland. In about 1530, he remodelled the castle around a courtyard in order to entertain King James V. After Cardinal Beaton's infamous murder in St Andrews, it is reputed that the monks of Arbroath concealed their treasury of church vessels, plates and vestments in the walls of Ethie for safekeeping.
The castle was bought in 1565 by the Carnegie family, who later became Earls of Northesk. It remained with them until 1928. The 7th Earl was a Vice Admiral and commanded with Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. As a tribute, the Earl was entitled to incorporate Trafalgar in his arms and this can still be seen set in a dormer at Ethie. It was the Earl who modernised the castle to form a substantial country residence and much of his influence is still found at Ethie.
Sir Walter Scott, a friend of the 8th Earl, often stayed at Ethie. During one of his visits he wrote the novel The Antiquary, where Ethie is reputedly depicted as the legendary Castle of Knockwhinnock and the central character is based upon a neighbour during that period.
MacGibbon & Ross, in Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland (James Thin) originally published in 1887-92, indicates that The original castle thus became extended into a mansion built round a courtyard, with the main building on the south, the kitchen wing on the north, and the west side enclosed with a wall containing the entrance gateway. In later times the west wall has been raised and rooms built against it, the entrance being still preserved in the centre. Even these rooms appear to be ancient, from arms and carving on the stonework at the back. MacGibbon & Ross continue that not withstanding the many changes to which it has been subjected, Ethie yet retains a wonderful amount of genuine character of a Scottish mansion. Nigel Tranter in the Fortified House in Scotland (James Thin, 1986) describes the castle as the extensive and handsome mansion of Ethie... though no longer the home of the Northesk family is still occupied and carefully cherished in excellent order. John Gifford in the Buildings of Scotland, Dundee and Angus (Yale University Press 2012) describes Ethie as a large but low key manor house, its walling all of red sandstone. It has developed from the sixteenth to the late nineteenth century.
Directions: If coming from the south take the A92 coast road from Dundee to Arbroath. At the roundabout on leaving Arbroath turn right signposted Seaton and Auchmithie. At the T junction turn left signposted Auchmithie and Lunan. After 3.1 miles and at the left hand bend continue straight ahead and through stone gate piers (signposted Ethie Barns and Ethie Castle). Continue up the tarred road and the castle will be seen on the right hand side after 0.6 miles. Alternatively, if coming from the north on the A92 turn off some 9 miles south of Montrose into Inverkeilor. In Inverkeilor, opposite Gordon's Restaurant, turn onto Station Road. Proceed out of the village and after 0.8 miles turn right signposted Ethie and then turn immediately left again, signposted Ethie. Continue on this road for 1.4 miles and at a right hand corner the stone gate piers will be seen on the left. Proceed as above.
EPC Rating = F
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12 Clerk Street
+44 (0) 1356 628 628
12 Clerk Street
+44 (0) 1356 628 628