Earlshall is a 16th century courtyard castle. It consists of a main house. Occupying two sides, a smaller detached tower of three storeys, the lower two being vaulted, and a range of 17th century outbuildings. The entrance to the courtyard is by an archway dated 1546.
The main house consists of a main block of three storeys and a garret, and a wing. A round stair-tower is corbelled out to square and crowned by a watch-chamber. On the other corner of the main block is a large tower, with a small stair-turret in the angle between it and the principal block.
The entrance in the stair-tower leads to the vaulted basement, the Hall on the first floor has a large carved fireplace and panelled walls. On the second floor is a gallery which has a tempera-painted ceiling from the 1620's
Sir William Bruce built the castle in 1546. He had fought at, and unusually, survived the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Mary, Queen of Scots, visited in 1561. One of the family was killed at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, fighting for Charles 11; and another Sir Andrew is known as "Bloody Bruce". He and his men killed Richard Cameron, a noted Covenanter, at Airds Moss. Bruce then hacked off Cameron's head and hands and took them back to Edinburgh.
The castle was abandoned and ruinous before being restored for R.W.R. Mackenzie by Sir Robert Lorimer in 1892. The gardens were re-laid and formal garden replanted. The castle has been sold several times in the 20th century, the last time in 1994, and is still occupied.
|(1) Related article: angus / fife - 1997|