Tillycairn Castle

Tillycairn Castle, Aberdeenshire

~ History ~

1098 ~ King Edgar of Scotland grants lands to the brothers Gillem and Cren Lumsden.

1271 ~ Clan Forbes, long established in Aberdeenshire on the banks of the river Don,are raised to a barony by King Alexander III.

1296 ~ Many Scottish nobles and clan leaders are forced to pay homage to Englands King Edward I by signing the Ragman Rolls. Adam and Rogier Lumsden's signatures are included in the Roll, alongside many other nobles including John Forbes.

1444 ~ Tillycairn is granted by Alexander, the Lord Gordon, to James Forbes.

1540 ~ The lands of Tillycairn are the marriage portion of Annabel Forbes, daughter of the 6th Lord Forbes, on her marriage to Matthew Lumsden.

Matthew builds Tillycairn Castle.

1542 ~  Following the castle being pillaged by John Strachan, Matthew Lumsden    strengthens the defences of the castle.

1548 ~ The Queen Regent grants the Lumsden's lands formerly belonging to John Strachan in recompense for the damage done during the raid six years earlier.

1580 ~  Further alterations with the addition of battlements are made by John Lumsden, 2nd Laird of Tillycairn, following his father's death.

1618 ~ Clan Lumsden fights in the "Thirty Years War" fight for the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus. Their unit is known as the "Lumsden Musketeers".

1644 ~ The Lumsden's fight at the Battle of Marston Moor under Alexander Leslie, Earl of Leven, in defeating King Charles I Royalist army.

1650 ~ Clan Lumsden return to action against Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Dunbar under David Leslie, but this time are defeated,

1651 ~ The Royalist Govenor of Dundee, Robert Lumsden organises the defence of the City of Dundee against  the Parliamentary forces of General Monck. The siege last six weeks until the a boy climbs over the dilapidated town walls and innocently gives Monck the information that the guards are in the ale-house for breakfast and by lunchtime are drunk.

Following the eventual surrender of the City in the kirk, an un-named English commander makes the decision to shoot Robert Lumsden and gives the order for his decapitated head, still in its helmet, to be placed on a spike on the south-west corner of the Kirk. A brutal assault of the city with three days of looting and mass murder only ends when General Monck himself comes across a suckling infant at the breast of his dead mother. During the nine year occupation the treasures of the town are placed on 50 ships for export to England.

1722 ~  The castle is recorded as  being derelict.

1745 ~ The Chief of Clan Lumsden is secretary to Bonnie Prince Charlie during the Jacobite Rebellion.

1746 ~ Following the disasterous defeat of the Scots at the Battle of Culloden the Lumsden chief flees to Rome.

1773 ~ On the return of the Lumsden chief to Scotland the British Government pardon him for his role in the uprising.


Sauchen, Inverurie


Anvil Terrace, Off A944


AB51 7RX

Tillycairn Castle is a very well preserved 16th Century tower house that today is a private residence.

Although photo's of the castle can be taken from the edge of the property, the privacy of the owners should be respected.

A wonderful example of a Scottish Tower House, albeit with limited recorded history. It was however owned by two important Clans, the Forbes and the Lumsden's, who both played a very important role in Scottish history.