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Drum Castle

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Drum Castle is situated 13 miles west of Aberdeen in Scotland, 8 miles east of Banchory.

Drum Castle was built for the Irvine family from the 1300s. You can visit 1st April until 31st October, from 10.30 a.m. until 4.00 p.m. Weekends in Winter. The Grounds are open all year. There is an entrance fee. Postcode: AB31 5EY

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Visits allow you to view the Castle Exterior, Tours of the Castle, climb to the top of the 70ft Tower for views, Gardens, and there is the large Mains of Drum Garden Centre by the entrance to the Castle with a Restaurant and Food Hall.

The image top is of Drum Castle entrance showing the original Tower with later buildings to the right.

The second image is from the Gardens, showing the later buildings are ideally placed, facing south to get the sun most of the day.

Drum Castle History

1100s - Clan Irvine evolves in the south of Scotland, in the same area as Clan Bruce, with the two Clans having strong connections.

1200s - the earliest part of Drum Tower is thought to have been built for John Comyn, enemy of Clan Bruce. This is one of the oldest such Towers in Scotland. Most fortified buildings in Scotland before this time were Forts built with wood.

1314 - Robert the Bruce led the Scots to victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn, leading to the English accepting Bruce as King of Scotland. William Irvine was one of the Kings most loyal followers.

Robert the Bruce then began taking Castles and Estates from Scots Clans that tried to prevent him becoming King, so as to award them to Clans that fought with him.

1325 - Robert the Bruce granted Drum Castle and Estate to William de Irwyn / Irvine. It is thought William Irvine had the Tower heightened at that time.

1619 - a large wing was added by the 9th Laird. This wing has little defense, so the Tower was retained for safety during times of War.

1640s - the Covenanters Wars begin as most Scots Clans rebel against King Charles I Stuart, based in England, as he was trying to control Scottish Churches. The Irvine's of Drum Castle remained loyal to the Stuart King, leading to Drum Castle being fought over and captured by Covenanters two times. The end of a series of Wars at that time, Covenanters, Wars of the Three Kingdoms, and English Civil War, ended with the Stuart Kings back in control of the Country.

1714 - Queen Anne Stuart died in 1714, with her second cousin, George I of the House of Hanover in Germany, becoming king of Great Britain. This led to a series of Jacobite Wars as Scots Clans wanted a Stuart King, with these Clansmen known as Jacobite's.

1746 - Alexander Irvine, 17th Laird of Drum, fought with the Jacobite's at the Battle of Culloden. After the defeat of the Jacobite's, Alexander was captured with him dying in an Edinburgh prison. His younger brother Robert survived the Battle, then hid in a secrete room in Drum Tower to avoid capture by Government Troops. This secret room was discovered in 2014.

The Battle of Culloden was the last major Battle in Britain, with the Hanover Kings and their descendants being the Monarchs of the country to this day.

It is unclear how the Irvine's managed to retain control of Drum Castle at that time, as most Clans that fought with the Jacobite's at Culloden, had their properties taken by the Crown to be sold to the highest bidder.

Alexander is said to have hid in the Tower for three years while his sister Mary ran the Estate. Alexander is then said to have traveled to France, living in Paris for a number of years before being allowed back to Scotland.

1875 - architect David Bryce added a new entrance and hall for the Irvine's.

1975 - the death of the 24th Laird of Drum, Henry Quentin Forbes Irvine, saw Drum Castle gifted to the National Trust for Scotland as part of his will, so it could be preserved as a tourist attraction.

2009 - the Mains of Drum Garden Centre opened on land at the entrance to Drum Castle with a Restaurant and Food Hall.

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