Edzell Castle – Unique Walled Garden

Edzell Castle in Angus Region is an impressive ruin with one of the most attractive walled gardens in Scotland. The original wooden structure was built by the Abbott family on top of a motte around 1100. The property passed to the Stirlings of Glenesk, then by marriage to the Lindsays in 1358. It stayed with the Lindsays until 1715 and they developed the castle to what it is today.

In the 1400s the Lindsays became Earls of Crawford. They built a tower house with a courtyard in a more sheltered spot in the early 1500s. This was extended in1553 with a large west range which had the main entrance to the castle. In the late16th century Sir David Lindsay planned to add a large north range with round towers.

He was also responsible for Edzell’s walled garden, a retreat from the castle. The garden is entered through a summer house in the corner of the garden, farthest away from the castle. The first thing to strike you is the highly decorated garden wall. This unique design has diagonally arranged compartments for flower boxes and spaces for birds to nest, the original garden bird boxes. It is resplendent with stone relief of heraldic sculptures, planet deities and carved panels. The two storey summer house is largely intact and contains the best preserved room in the castle, with a stunning oak panel on the wall. Another similar building was a bath house. Sir David Lindsay fell into debt while trying to complete his ambitious project so the North range was left unfinished.

By 1715, inherited debts increased so much that the Lindsays were forced to sell Edzell Castle to the Earl of Panmure. He too lost all his assets after the 1715 Jacobite Rising when his estates, including Edzell Castle, were seized. Edzell Castle later passed on to the York Building Company. The castle was badly damaged by occupying government troops during the 1745 and completely stripped after York Building Company went into liquidation.

Edzell Castle later passed to the Dalhousie family, who retained ownership for some time. In 1932 the walled garden passed into state care and they sold the rest of the castle in 1935. Edzell Castle and gardens in the lovely region of Angus are now cared for by Historic Scotland.

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