Castle Fraser is located in Aberdeenshire and is the most elaborate of all the Z-plan castles in Scotland.
But wait – what’s a Z-plan castle?
Basically, it’s a castle with a rectangular tower in the middle and two towers at the corners, positioned diagonally opposite each other.
Castle Fraser was built between 1575 and 1636 – and when we say ‘between’, I am pretty sure that means that’s how long construction took, not that we’re unsure of the date. It appears an older square tower occupied the site before Castle Fraser. Funnily enough, the current castle was built by a chap called Michael Fraser. Well, not personally – he planned and funded it. On the northern side of the castle is a panel signed ‘I Bel’ which is believed to be the mark of master mason John Bell, so I guess he built it. Well, not personally. I suppose he supervised other people who built it. Lots of other people. Another master mason, Thomas Leiper, was also involved in the construction.
The castle is five stories high, and after the initial building of the Z-plan castle, an additional two wings were constructed, which obscures the castle’s basic design. The castle was further modernised in the late 18th century, including the addition of a new southern entrance and sash windows, which I suspect weren’t part of the original castle defences. The interiors were then entirely reconstructed again between 1820 and 1850, and the castle was then partially restored by new owners around 1950.
Castle Fraser appeared in the movie The Queen in a scene where Helen Mirren (the Queen) is stranded by a river and sees a stag. She then visits Castle Fraser where she learns the stag has been killed by hunters.
Castle Fraser is a beautiful impressive castle – if you’re ever in Scotland, consider adding it to your list of sights to see. I think I’ll be stopping by in 2016 when I’m there!
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