Cortachy Castle – Pride of Angus

Cortachy Castle, in the heart of Airlie Estate, has been the home of the Ogilvy family and the seat of the Earls of Airlie ever since the time the family moved here in 1639 when the Airlie Castle was burned down. It is a grand whitewashed baronial structure on the river South Esk in Angus that guards the entrance to Glen Clova, 3 miles north of Kirriemuir. Cortachy is a much rebuilt and altered 15th century courtyard castle, built on the Z-plan, though very little of it is seen today.

The first castle on this site was built in1330 by the Stewart Earls of Strathearn. In 1473, King James III granted the lands to Sir Walter Ogilvy who probably began the current structure. The castle and its surrounding estate were bought by Lord Ogilvy from a kinsman in 1625 and his son, the first Earl of Airlie moved there from Airlie Castle. Since then Cortachy has been the home of the Ogilvies. The clan tartan is a blue and green check with an over-check of red.

The earliest structures of the castle, the south wing, date from the 16th century. Three original round towers, one with a rectangular watch-room at the top, corbelled-out on a W-shaped support can be seen today. The castle was damaged twice in the mid 17th century and was forfeited to the Crown when Ogilvy’s supported the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. The castle was subsequently occupied by government troops.

Cortachy was returned to the family within 30 years, but they got their earldom only in 1826. The castle was remodeled around this time. It was extended in 1871 to make a baronial structure with a new Victorian wing. Unfortunately a fire gutted this extension in 1883. During World War II, the castle served as a military hospital. The 19th century wing was subsequently demolished.

The castle is not open to the public but one can walk through a network of walks and gardens at certain times of the year. The designed landscape surrounding the Castle extends to some 500 acres and was originally created in 1820. Many fine trees planted in the 1870s have added to the beauty of the landscape which this picturesque region of Angus is known for.

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