Not a lot of people have £1million to splash out on a property never mind £3million, but this stunning Aberdeenshire castle comes complete with the heart-stopping price tag.
Even though the majority of us couldn’t afford to buy the magnificent mansion, it’s nice to be able to take a look inside and daydream about living life in such a wonderful building.
Beldorney Castle, near Huntly, is one of the oldest surviving Z-plan castles in the north-east and it is for sale for only the third time in the last 221 years.
Built in 1550 by the Gordon family, one of the most powerful families in the north-east at the time, it boasts a fascinating history and a beautiful and secluded position on the banks of the River Deveron, while also benefiting from being the subject of a major restoration and modernisation project carried out by the vendors in recent times.
Additionally, the Beldorney Estate includes three cottages, a stock-rearing and arable farm with a farmhouse and farm buildings, woodland, salmon fishing and low-ground shooting. It extends to 861 acres and is available as a whole or in three lots.
Beldorney, originally a Catholic house, was at one time home to John Gordon, the 10th laird and an ardent Jacobite in the 1745 rebellion, who, following defeat, spent much of his remaining 15 years in hiding, principally at Beldorney where there is a “secret room”. Despite soldiers searching the castle, they never found him.
Beldorney was also once home to a well-known Gaelic poetess, Sileas MacDonald/MacDonell (1660-1729), who was married to Alexander Gordon, 7th laird of Beldorney.
Directly below the castle, on the banks of the Deveron, is a group of natural stone pools known as St Wallach’s Baths. The pools, to which healing qualities have been ascribed, are named after the 8th-century St Wallach who is believed to have baptised people in the waters.
The house has many historical features including an ogee-headed panel above the front door, which is thought to be part of a sacrament house from a Catholic church. There are also fragmentary remains of original wall and ceiling paintings, depicting military, musical and religious themes. These have been painstakingly preserved during the renovation work.
The vaulted entrance hall was originally the kitchen and one of the adjacent rooms, once used as a store, still bears the original meat hooks in the ceiling. Of note is the Great Hall, an extremely impressive room with pitch pine panelling and a wonderful fireplace. A door from there leads to the former laird’s room in the round tower, now a panelled bedroom, and a small staircase leads to a bathroom – the Priest’s Room – in which fragmentary wall paintings and etchings can be seen.
There are seven bedrooms in total, as well as a self-contained two-bedroom flat in the south wing, which is currently used as a self-catering holiday let.
The owners, Jolyon and Sheelagh Robinson, carried out a major restoration of the original building in the 1980s, the third major building phase in the history of the castle, following Georgian and Victorian additions, the latter under the direction of well-known architect Dr Alexander Marshall Mackenzie. They replaced part of the roof, window lintels, supporting beams and some of the harling and they oversaw the restoration and conservation of the wall paintings which were found during the restoration work.
Mr Robinson, whose father bought the castle in 1960, said: “Beldorney is an extremely interesting and fascinating place to live. It is a manageable size and the grounds are relatively easily maintained. It is in a beautiful location and the river is absolutely integral to its attraction. It is just the most idyllic and peaceful spot with lovely views, while also being well placed for Aberdeen.”
David Strang Steel, handling the sale for Strutt & Parker, said: “Beldorney Castle is a stunning and historic property in an unspoilt and beautiful part of Aberdeenshire. It is in a very good condition and offers a substantial but manageable family home. I expect Beldorney to attract interest from throughout the UK and abroad.”
Contact: Strutt & Parker on 01330 824888.