Slains Castle, Aberdeenshire
~ History ~
1306 ~ Slains Castle is owned by John Comyn, Earl of Buchan. His cousin is murdered by Robert the Bruce. This act pushes the Comyns into a bitter feud with the Bruce's. Following Robert the Bruce's coronation as King of Scotland and his later destruction of the Comyn's power, John Comyn like the rest of his clan sees him dispossessed of all his castles and lands. Slains castle is granted to John's father-in-law, Gilbert Hay, who had supported Bruce.
The Hay's build themselves a tower house with courtyard to secure their land.
1594 ~ King James VI destroys the Hay's castle of Slains following their rebellion with the Earl of Huntly against the Crown.
1597 ~ Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Errol, is permitted to return from exile and begins construction of a new castle of Slains on a new site further north on the coast from the destroyed castle.
1664 ~ The tower house castle is greatly altered when a corridor to serve the new extensions to the castle is inserted within its courtyard.
1836 ~ Slains Castle is substantially rebuilt with new gardens added.
1916 ~ The Hays are forced to sell the castle due to crippling death duties,
1925 ~ The castle is unroofed to avoid taxes and is allowed to decay into ruin.
Cruden Bay, Peterhead
Slains Castle is spectacularly located on precipitous cliffs above the sea, which incorporates part of the basement of the 16th-century tower house of Bowness.
The much-changed castle you see today now consists of mostly two-storey buildings around a central courtyard, with adjoining ranges, and a tall four-storey tower with a round stair-turret.
The castle is also famous for being the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula following his stay at the castle.
The castle is well sign-posted with parking quite nearby. Care should be taken if you take children or dogs to see this magnificent ruin, due to the precipitous cliff-side location.