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Drumtochty Castle

Drumtochty Castle is a neo-gothic style castellated mansion erected in the year 1812 approximately three kilometres northwest of Auchenblae, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.[1][2] This castle stands on the southern edge of Drumtochty Forest. Other noted castles in Kincardineshire are Fasque House, Fetteresso Castle, Dunnottar Castle and Muchalls Castle.

The castle was built to the designs of James Gillespie Graham with further extensions c. 1815. Although the design for the extensions was again commissioned from Graham Gillespie, the actual work was undertaken by the Aberdeen City Architect John Smith. Miller speculates Gillespie Graham could have had a dispute with George Drummond, the owner, but considers Smith's closer proximity to the site is a more plausible scenario.[3] Gillespie Graham was involved with further additions c. 1839.[4]

During the Second World War, Drumtochty Castle was bought by the Norwegian government in exile and used as a boarding school for Norwegian children who were refugees from the German occupation of Norway.[5]

On 1 May 1947, Robert and Elizabeth Langlands, opened a boys preparatory school at the Castle, having bought Drumtochty from the Norwegian government.[6] The school closed in 1971.[7] Notable alumni include:

  • Elspeth Barker (born 1940), novelist and journalist.[8] (One of five Langlands children)
  • Ross Leckie (born 1957), writer.[9]
  • David MacLennan (1948-2014), actor, writer and producer.[10]
  • Allan Massie (born 1938), novelist, sports writer and journalist.[11]
  • Douglas Young (born 1948), solicitor.

Historic Scotland included the castle on the list of category A listed buildings in August 1972.[4]


  1. Drumtochty Highland Games Archived 5 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. United Kingdom Ordnance Survey Map Landranger 45, Stonehaven & Banchory, 1:50,000 scale
  3. Miller, David G. (2007). Tudor Johnny: City Architect of Aberdeen: The Life and Works of John Smith 1781-1852. Librario. ISBN 978-1-904440-97-0. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Drumtochty Castle, Ref: 9664". Historic Scotland. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  5. NRK "Da norske barn var flyktninger (When Norwegian children were refugees)" (Norwegian)
  6. "Robert Langlands". The Scotsman. 6 June 2000. p. 15. Retrieved 11 November 2014. "On the last day of 1946 Robert went to London where he bought, from the Norwegian government, Drumtochty Castle in Kincardineshire, which they opened, on 1 May 1947, as a preparatory school for boys. At a time when most preparatory schools were grim or forbidding, Robert and Elizabeth created something with a character all its own. It was essentially a family school - an expression often used, but fully justified in this case. Indeed, their own five children were all pupils there" 
  7. "Elizabeth Langlands". The Scotsman. 26 November 2002. p. 16. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  8. "I was an overeducated freak';Elspeth Barker;A Childhood". The Times. 26 September 1992. Retrieved 14 November 2014. "He bought Drumtochty Castle, on the eastern foothills of the Grampian mountains, from King Haakon of Norway, who had used it to house refugee countrymen fleeing across the North Sea from the Germans. "I was six at the time the youngest person there entirely surrounded by boys. There were 30 or 40 pupils to begin with all dressed in haphazard clothes before a uniform was introduced rising to more than 100" 
  9. "A classic tale of two cities; Saturday interview: Ross Leckie When Hollywood called, the Edinburgh fund management spinmeister was lost for words". The Herald (Glasgow). 23 August 2003. p. 21. Retrieved 14 November 2014. "Fact File 1957: Born in Irvine, Ayrshire. Education: Drumtochty Castle Preparatory School, Kincardineshire; Fettes College, Edinburgh; Corpus Christi College, Oxford University; Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester" 
  10. "David MacLennan". 15 June 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  11. "Allan Massie". British Council. 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 

Coordinates: 56°54′39″N 2°29′41″W / 56.9109°N 2.4947°W / 56.9109; -2.4947

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