Castle Leod

Castle Leod - photo kindly donated by Becky Hartzell Stanley

Castle Leod – photo kindly donated by Becky Hartzell Stanley

This is a 14th Century Historic Scottish Tower House. This is the Clan seat of the MacKenzie clan, and currently the family home of the Clan Chief, the Earl of Cromartie. Located near Strathpeffer, Scotland

Castle ‘Leod’ or ‘Liotr’ is a Viking name which can be traced to an uncle of the mighty Norseman Thorfinn, Jarl of Orkney and Caithness. Thorn established himself in the area in the 11th Century after the local ‘Battle of Torfness’ when King Duncan was slain and Thorfinn’s half brother, Macbeth, Mormaer of Ross and Moray, became King of Scotland.

The original building may have been a wooden fort on a natural mound, built by ‘Pictish’ tribesmen and taken over at a later date by the Viking invaders.

In earlier times the little River Peffery, that runs close by, may have been navigable this far inland. The stone structure you see today was started in the medieval period, a fortified tower with the original entrance on the second floor, defended by a ladder that could be drawn up. The iron yetis, numerous arrow slits and gun loops remind us of its defensive purpose.

In 1605 the tower was re-modelled into a more comfortable residence by Sir Rory MacKenzie (the formidable ‘Tutoe of Kintail’ and de-facto clan chief) for his new wide Dame Margaret MacLeod of Lewis. Their marriage stone is placed above the front entrance.

The ‘new wing’ was added in the 19th century. (Victorian era) and extended again in the first decade of the 20th century (Edwardian era).

The MacKenzies’ dramatic and colourful lives were inextricably linked with the great events of Scottish history and the characters that shaped it, among them Mary Queen of Scots and Prince Charles Edward Stuart.

For 500 years Castle Leod has provided the backdrop for the MacKenzie Family who live here to this day.

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Castle Leod – photo kindly donated by Becky Hartzell Stanley

Castle Leod – photo kindly donated by Becky Hartzell Stanley

Castle Leod – photo kindly donated by Becky Hartzell Stanley

Clans connected with Castle Leod

Clan MacKenzie

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