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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.

GLAMIS CASTLEReference: LB11701

Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Date Added: 11/06/1971


  • Local Authority: Angus
  • Planning Authority: Angus
  • Parish: Glamis

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNO 38586 48054
  • Coordinates338586, 748054


15th century tower house remodelled 1606 (dated); E wing added 1629; tower raised and W wing added 1670-89; NE corner wing with chapel added 1679-83 and restored 1866; W wing demolished 1775 and rebuilt 1798-1801; Baronial wing to E 1891; later 20th century modernisation by James Dunbar-Nasmith. 5-storey, L-plan main block with central stair tower and ogee caphouse, pinnacled turrets and roofwalk; 2-storey and basement, 4-bay battlemented angle wings with outer towers and corbelled turrets; lower 3-storey and attic, 7-bay crowstepped E wing and 2-storey service wing. Red sandstone.

MAIN BLOCK: coursed rubble with string courses, carved heraldic panels and windowheads, corbels, roll-moulded and chamfered arrises; stair tower of stugged squared rubble with carved band and string courses, and crenellated parapet, pilastered and corniced ashlar doorcase, corbels, roll-moulded openings and carved heraldic panels.

ANGLE WINGS: some dressed and snecked squared rubble bands; raised base course, decorative eaves cornice and battlemented parapets; trefoil-headed basement openings, architraved windows to 1st floor W, horizontal gunloops, and corbels. BARONIAL WING: rubble with corbel course and crowsteps; carved pedimented windowheads and panels, roll-moulded surrounds. REAR: coursed rubble with corbel courses and crenellated parapets, pedimented and crowstepped dormer gableheads and some pointed-arch openings.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION MAIN BLOCK: largely symmetrical. 5-storey tower with 3-stage, 3-bay round stair tower to centre in re-entrant angle, centre bay with 2 steps up to pilastered doorcase, studded timber door with iron knocker dated 1687, and carved panel with Royal Arms below circular niche containing bust of Patrick 1st Earl of Strathmore, blank 2nd stage and small corbelled turret to 3rd stage with tripartite window masked by clock face, battlemented parapet and set-back ogee caphouse with flanking tall round stacks; flanking bays with 2 vertically aligned windows and alternate carved panels to 1st and 2nd stages, windows only to 3rd stage. Bay to left of centre with small openings to ground and 1st floor below band of heraldic panels, large pedimented window and further small windows over giving way to small corbelled turret with tripartite window and larger corbelled angle turret with 3 small windows and 3 oval openings to outer left. Narrow bay to right with small window to ground and 1st floor below band (projecting into angled wing to right) with pedimented heraldic panel, further window over and tiny window close to base of corbelled angle turret as above.

SE ELEVATION MAIN BLOCK: engaged below 4th floor. 3 vertically aligned windows (that to centre with carved pediment) flanked by corbelled turrets and giving way to pierced parapet with lion-finialled, ogee-topped gazebo.

SW ELEVATION MAIN BLOCK: as SE elevation but without window pediment.

N ELEVATION MAIN BLOCK: low crenellated projections to ground and 1st floor, 5 regularly fenestrated bays to top 2 floors, those to 5th floor breaking eaves into crowstepped dormerheads except to centre which is raised to further attic window; corbelled turret to outer right angle and corbelled caphouse with arrowslit to outer left.

SE ELEVATION E WING: 4 bay elevation with 3 blinded basement openings below windows to each floor, small window between bays 2 and 3, and gunloops below parapet; 3 vertically aligned windows to conical-roofed tower at outer right and small corbelled turret to outer left angle. Return to left with variety of small asymmetrical openings to left and regular fenestration to centre and right bays.

SW ELEVATION W WING: 4 bay elevation mirrors E wing, 2 regularly fenestrated bays on return to right.

REAR (NW) ELEVATION: 3-storey and attic, 3-bay wing (with Chapel) projecting from NE of Main Block. Door with flanking windows at ground, 3 windows above and 3 4-light transomed and mullioned Chapel windows high up at 2nd floor, outer bays with further windows breaking eaves into dormer gableheads. Tall 2-storey, 4-bay wing adjoining to left with 4 tall pointed-arch openings at ground and regular fenestration above. 2-storey and attic, 8-bay later wing beyond to left, with finialled dormer windowheads and crowstepped gable with flanking turrets to outer left.

Predominantly diamond-pattern leaded glazing in 3- and 4-light casement windows to Main Block; 12- and 24-pane glazing patterns in timber sash and case windows to rear; decorative astragals to pointed-arch windows. Stained glass to Chapel and Dining Room. Grey slates. Coped ashlar stacks and ashlar-coped skews with crowsteps, moulded skewputts and stone finials. Cast-iron downpipes and decorative rainwater hoppers (some dated 1882), decorative wrought-iron roof-walk railings and finials.

INTERIOR: DINING ROOM: 1798-1801; Scotch Baronial revival interior 1851-53 by Hon Thomas Liddell. Heraldic emblems to oak panelling and stained glass; oak fireplace with paired fluted pilasters, carved frieze, cornice and overmantel with arms of 12th Earl of Strathmore; fluted pilasters and frieze to sideboard alcove and windows, latter also with decorative cresting. Fine plasterwork ceiling (originally panelled and painted with Ovid's Metamorphosis) with thistles, roses and lions. THE CRYPT: formerly lower hall of 15th century tower house. Stone flagged floor, dressed stone in vault, deeply embrasured windows, stop-chamfered and moulded jambs. 9th century stair to centre leading to ground floor entrance, further stair to well; stripped of plasterwork 19th century. DRAWING ROOM: formerly Great Hall. Vaulted, 60ft x 20ft with 8ft thick walls and 3 deeply embrasured windows, chamber to W end (well room) in wall thickness. Carved stone fireplace with paired caryatids flanking heraldic overmantel with royal arms now in heraldic colours. Plasterwork frieze and ceiling (by artist of Muchalls and Craigevar) dated 1621 with monograms of John (2nd Earl of Kinghorne) and Margaret Erskine. CHAPEL: 1679-83 (wing to NE corner), lined with Joseph de Wit panel paintings 1688, restored 1866. 4-light transomed and mullioned windows with stained glass by Kempe of London 1867-8 and 1882-3, paintings restored 1979-80 by Stenhouse Conservation Centre, Edinburgh. BILLIARD ROOM: former dining room over 16th century kitchen. 1773-1776; 1903 ceiling with monograms and coronet for 13th Earl's Golden Wedding. Carved fireplace with caryatids supporting corniced frieze and overmantel with coat of arms of the Blakistons of Gibside (from Gibside, Co Durham, seat of Bowes family). KING MALCOLM'S ROOM: plasterwork frieze and strapwork ceiling with monograms of 2nd Earl of Kinghorne and Lady Margaret Erskine, and medallion heads of Roman characters. Fireplace with Dutch tile slips, iron fireback, carved timber and embossed leather overmantel with arms of 2nd Earl above. ROYAL APARTMENTS: suite of rooms (King's Room, Queen Mother's Bedroom and Sitting Room) converted after 1923 marriage of Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon into royal family. Queen Mother?s Sitting Room (former Tapestry Room) with stone ledge at door (possibly sentry seat) and carved oak fireplace lined with blue and white Dutch tiles and carved overmantel with inset tapestry. KITCHEN: formed from 16th century barrel-vaulted cellars; restored 1990. NEWEL STAIR: circa 1600, hollow newel containing clock mechanism

Statement of Special Interest

Property of Strathmore Estates (Holding) Ltd. Thought to date from the 11th century, Glamis Castle has been in the same family since 1372 when Robert II granted the barony to Sir John Lyon who later married Joanna, the king?s daughter. During the earlier part of the 16th century, King James V with his queen, two sons and court occupied Glamis during forfeiture of the Lyon family, and by 1562 when Mary Queen of Scots rested here the castle consisted of a keep (4-storey, L-plan tower house) and enceinte wall with towers and outbuildings. The Castle (largely as seen today) was remodelled in 1606 by Patrick, 9th Lord Glamis and 1st Earl of Kinghorne, an inscription on the central tower reads "Built by Patrick, Lord Glamis, and D (dame) Anna Murray". Tradition says Inigo Jones was the architect involved, but William Schaw (master mason to the king's works) is regarded as a more likely candidate owing to the 'Scottish' nature of the designs. Work continued under John (2nd Earl), but Patrick (3rd Earl) was only 4 years old at his succession in 1646 and both Castle and Estate were sadly neglected during this time. By 1653 Commonwealth soldiers were at the castle, and when Patrick (1st Earl of Strathmore and 3rd of Kinghorne) returned in 1670 serious restoration was necessary. Completed by 1689, the Castle repairs and improvements are recorded in the Earl's 'Book of Record'. During the 1770s the 9th Earl was responsible for remodelling the grounds in the style of Capability Brown, removing the garden walls and re-siting three gates (all listed separately). 19th century fashion led to the stripping of harl and external plaster to reveal medieval rubble, and the creation of a Dining Room which Gow considers "one of finest Scotch Baronial revival interiors". In 1914 the Castle provided a hospital for convalescent soldiers, and in 1916 a fire in the upper floors of central tower is still evident with charred doors and woodwork. Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon (youngest daughter of the 14th Earl of Strathmore) married Prince Albert on 26th April, 1932, and Princess Margaret was born at Glamis in 1930. Michael, 18th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, now (1998) lives at the Castle with his wife and three sons.



OSA (1790), III p127. NSA (1836), XI p343. MacGibbon & Ross CASTELLATED & DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE Vol II, p 113. Ian Gow SCOTTISH HOUSES AND GARDENS (1997). Robert Innes-Smith GLAMIS CASTLE Guide. Rev Stirton GLAMIS CASTLE (1938). Maurice Lindsay CASTLES OF SCOTLAND (1994).

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Listed Buildings

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