Kindrochit Castle - Ruins in Royal Deeside
Kindrochit Castle is in ruins, right in the center of Braemar village in Royal Deeside. In an area that is known for beautiful castles like Braemar and Balmoral, one visits Kindrochit to pay homage to the first castle to be built in the village. Some of the walls are still standing, the rest have been used for other buildings or removed to build roads. The district was known as the Parish of St. Andrew, later changed to Kindrochit, and now Braemar.
Kindrochit Castle was built between 1057 and 1093 by King Malcolm III, King of Scotland. The castle was then named Ceann-drochit meaning Bridge Head. A bridge was built here across the River Clunie which was the only means to cross it for several miles. It is believed that King Robert II spent time here to enjoy the hunting on the Braes of Mar. Subsequently King Robert III gifted the castle to Sir Malcolm Drummond, his brother-in-law. He built the family tower on the site in 1390, making it the fifth largest castle in Scotland at the time.
Unfortunately Sir Malcolm was attacked and killed before its completion by an unknown band. Later Alexander Stewart stormed the castle and forced the widow, Isabella, Countess of Mar to marry him. Thus Alexander Stewart became the Earl of Mar. On Stewart’s death in 1435, the Earldom was annexed by the Crown. In the 17th Century the plague struck occupants of the Castle In order to prevent them from leaving the confines of the castle and spreading the deadly disease, the occupants and the Castle were destroyed by cannon. It was unoccupied after that and by 1628, the castle was in ruins.
Excavations in the area began in 1925. Excavations revealed a guard tower adjacent to the family tower. Further away on the other side of the bridge head, stood the row of rooms that served as cellar, larder and prison. One of the most significant finds was made in the prison. It was a silver brooch with 16th century French Gothic writing that read, ‘I am here in place of a friend.’ Known as the Kindrochit Brooch, it is now housed in the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh.