New Slains Castle

Slains Castle, also known as New Slains Castle to distinguish it from nearby Old Slains Castle, is a ruined castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It overlooks the North Sea from its cliff-top site 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) east of Cruden Bay. The core of the castle is a 16th-century tower house, built by the 9th Earl of Erroll. Significant reconstruction of the castle has been carried out a number of times, lastly in 1837 when it was rebuilt as a Scots Baronial mansion. At one time it had three extensive gardens, but is now a roofless ruin. Plans to restore the castle have been on hold since 2009. It is a Historic Environment Scotland Category B listed building.

New Slains Castle
Ruined Slains Castle - - 1461044
Ruins of New Slains Castle from the south
Coordinates57°24′55″N 1°49′56″W / 57.4153354°N 1.8322935°WCoordinates: 57°24′55″N 1°49′56″W / 57.4153354°N 1.8322935°W
OS grid referenceNK 102 361
Builtafter 1597
Built forFrancis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll
ArchitectJohn Smith
New Slains Castle is located in Aberdeen
New Slains Castle
Location in Aberdeenshire


The Clan Hay were a powerful family in the area for generations, having possessed the lands of Slains since the 14th century. In 1453 Sir William Hay, the clan chief, was made Earl of Erroll by King James II.[1] At this time the local seat of power was Old Slains Castle, near Collieston some 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) to the south-west. Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll, succeeded in 1585, and converted to Roman Catholicism. He conspired with other Catholic nobles, including the Earl of Huntly, with whom he joined in a brief rebellion in 1589. Erroll was also a signatory of the "Spanish Blanks", documents signed by members of the Catholic nobility of Scotland, and otherwise left to be filled in with the terms of Spanish aid.[2] Erroll was declared a traitor in 1594, and Old Slains Castle was destroyed in October on the orders of King James VI.[1]

After a period abroad Erroll returned to Scotland, and abjured Roman Catholicism in 1597, subsequently returning to royal favour. He abandoned Old Slains and built a courtyard and square tower on the present site. Originally named Bowness, it later became known as New Slains.[3] The wings around the courtyard were extended in 1664 by addition of a gallery or corridor, and in 1707 the entrance front was renewed.[4]

In 1820 William Hay, 18th Earl of Erroll, married Lady Elizabeth FitzClarence, the illegitimate daughter of King William IV and Dorothea Jordan.[5] In the 1830s the 18th Earl commissioned the Aberdeen architect John Smith to remodel the castle. This resulted in a virtual rebuilding of Slains in a Scots Baronial style, including granite facings, in 1836–1837.[4] Gardens were laid out in the late 1890s by the landscape architect T. H. Mawson.[6] In 1895 the author Bram Stoker visited the area, staying at a cottage near Cruden Bay, and he may have been a guest at Slains. The castle is commonly cited as an inspiration for Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula.[4][7]

In 1913 the 20th Earl of Erroll sold New Slains,[1] ending more than 300 years of occupation by the family. It was purchased by Sir John Ellerman, the wealthy but secretive owner of the Ellerman Lines shipping company, who leased it out. In 1925 the roof was removed to avoid taxes,[4] and the building has deteriorated since. It is now a roofless shell, with most of the outer and inner walls standing to full height. In 2004 it was reported that the Slains Partnership was preparing plans for restoration of the building and conversion into 35 holiday apartments.[4] In August 2007 the scheme was granted outline planning permission by Aberdeenshire Council, but the plans were put on hold in 2009 due to the economic downturn.[8]


Slains Castle February 08
New Slains Castle

New Slains castle is a Historic Environment Scotland Category B listed building.[9] At first inspection the ruin appears to be a blend of several different architectural styles and periods, due to diverse masonry including older mortared granite, mortared medieval red brick, mortared sandstone and newer well faced granite. In fact most of the architecture seems to derive from a rather cohesive interval 1597 to 1664, which construction is the most expansive and includes the mortared rough granite and medieval brick. The 1836 work adds smoother granite facing that contrasts with the older construction style.

The defensive works of the castle include use of the North Sea cliffs; an abyss to the west that functions as a deep impassable moat; and a ruined rampart that would have been the main entrance on the south.[10] The ruins include reasonably well preserved elements of three- and four-storey structural elements and a basement course over some of the range, especially at the eastern side. There are well-preserved basement kitchen works with numerous firepits and masonry indented storage spaces. The internal doorways are primarily of well-preserved wooden lintel construction, with numerous examples of mortared sandstone and medieval brickwork archways. The interior of the ground level is a maze of passageways and smaller rooms, reflecting a high state of occupancy in 17th-century times.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Slains Castle". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  2. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Erroll, Francis Hay, 9th Earl". Encyclopædia Britannica. IX (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ "Slains Castle". Canmore. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Slains Castle". Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  5. ^ Lodge, Edmund (1851). The Peerage of the British Empire as at Present Existing. Saunders and Otley. p. 222.
  6. ^ "Slains Castle". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  7. ^ Haworth Maden, Clare (1992). The Essential Dracula. Crescent Books. ISBN 1854222686.
  8. ^ "Slains Castle redevelopment halted". STV Group. 8 February 2009.
  9. ^ "New Slains Castle, Cruden Bay". Historic Environment Scotland. 12 April 2018.
  10. ^ Hogan, C. Michael (August 2005), Architecture of New Slains Castle, Scotland, Lumina Technologies

External links

Clan Hay

Clan Hay is a Scottish clan that has played an important part in the history and politics of Scotland. Members of the clan are to be found in most parts of Scotland and in many other parts of the world. However, the North East of Scotland, i.e. Aberdeenshire (historic), Banffshire, Morayshire and Nairnshire Nairn (boundaries), is the heart of Hay country with other significant concentrations of Hays being found in Perthshire, especially around Perth, in the Scottish Borders, and in Shetland.

Earl of Erroll

Earl of Erroll is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created in 1453 for Sir William Hay. The subsidiary titles held by the Earl of Erroll are Lord Hay (created 1449) and Lord Slains (1452), both in the Peerage of Scotland. The Earls of Erroll also hold the hereditary office of Lord High Constable of Scotland. The office was once associated with great power. The Earls of Erroll hold the hereditary title of Chief of Clan Hay.

The Earl of Erroll is one of four peers entitled to appoint a private pursuivant, with the title "Slains Pursuivant of Arms". Earl of Erroll is also the name of a Scottish highland dance, danced today at Highland games around the world.The family seat is Woodbury House, near Everton, Bedfordshire.

List of castles in Aberdeenshire

This is a list of castles in Aberdeenshire.

List of listed buildings in Cruden, Aberdeenshire

This is a list of listed buildings in the parish of Cruden in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

List of shipwrecks in December 1848

The list of shipwrecks in December 1848 includes some ships sunk, wrecked or otherwise lost during December 1848.

List of shipwrecks in January 1849

The list of shipwrecks in January 1849 includes some ships sunk, wrecked or otherwise lost during January 1849.

Old Slains Castle

Old Slains Castle (otherwise known as Old Castle Slains) is a ruined castle near Collieston in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Slains Castle

Slains Castle may refer to one of two ruined castles in Aberdeenshire, Scotland:

Old Slains Castle, a 13th-century castle was originally the property of the Comyn Earls of Buchan, near Collieston

New Slains Castle, a 16th-century tower house, built by the 9th Earl of Erroll, overlooking the North Sea from its cliff-top site 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) east of Cruden Bay

The Crown (TV series)

The Crown is a historical drama web television series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Created and principally written by Peter Morgan and produced by Left Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television for Netflix, The Crown evolved out of Morgan's 2006 film The Queen and 2013 stage play The Audience. The first season covers the period from Queen Elizabeth's marriage to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947 to the disintegration of her sister Princess Margaret's engagement to Group Captain Peter Townsend in 1955. The second season covers the period from the Suez Crisis in 1956 through the retirement of the Queen's third prime minister, Harold Macmillan, in 1963 to the birth of Prince Edward in 1964. The third season will continue from 1964, covering Harold Wilson's two periods as prime minister until 1976, while the fourth will include Margaret Thatcher's premiership and introduce Lady Diana Spencer.

The series is intended to last 60 episodes over six seasons, with 10 one-hour episodes per season, covering Elizabeth's life from her younger years to her reign, and with new actors being cast every two seasons. Claire Foy portrays the Queen in the first two seasons, alongside Matt Smith as Prince Philip, and Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret. For the third and fourth seasons, Olivia Colman will take over as the Queen, Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret. Filming for the series takes place at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, with location shooting throughout the United Kingdom and internationally.

The first season was released on Netflix on November 4, 2016, with the second released on December 8, 2017. The series has been renewed for a third and fourth season, with the third intended to be released in 2019. The Crown has been praised for its acting, direction, writing, cinematography, production values, and the relatively accurate historical account of Queen Elizabeth's reign. It has received several accolades, including winning Best Actress and Best Actor at the 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards for Foy and Lithgow, respectively, in addition to receiving a total of 26 nominations for its first two seasons at the Primetime Emmy Awards, including twice for Outstanding Drama Series.

Violet Bonham Carter

Helen Violet Bonham Carter, Baroness Asquith of Yarnbury, (15 April 1887 – 19 February 1969), known until her marriage as Violet Asquith, was a British politician and diarist. She was the daughter of H. H. Asquith, Prime Minister from 1908–1916, and later became active in Liberal politics herself, being a leading opponent of appeasement, standing for Parliament and being made a life peer. She was also involved in arts and literature. Her illuminating diaries cover her father's premiership before and during the First World War and continue until the 1960s.

She was Sir Winston Churchill's closest female friend, apart from his wife, and her grandchildren include the actress Helena Bonham Carter.

Settlements and places of interest in Buchan, Aberdeenshire
Primary settlements
Other settlements
Places of interest

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.