Conservation Work Begins on Drum Castle

Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire

Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire

Drum Castle, ancient seat of Clan Irvine, has received a £700,000 conservation grant from Historic Scotland. The 700-year old castle boasts the oldest keep in Scotland and is the oldest intact building under the care of the trust.

The castle is to undergo specialist works to remove cement pointing, replacing it with traditional, breathable lime mortar to aid in preservation. Scaffolding is currently being erected around the keep in order to begin the painstaking task of chipping away the cement.

Located near Drumoak in Aberdeenshire, the castle’s name is derived from the gaelic druim meaning ridge. The keep is said to be the work of medieval architect Richard Cementarius who held the title of King’s Master Mason to King Alexander III of Scotland. In a show of neighbourly love, Robert the Bruce gifted the lands and castle of Drum to his neighbour and armour bearer William de Irwyn (Irvine) in 1323. De Irwyn was appointed by Bruce as the Baron of Drum and charged with overseeing the Royal Forest, parts of which remain standing today. According to legend, the holly on the Irvine badge were awarded after de Irwyn guarded the King while he slept under a holly bush.

During the Covenenting Rebellion of the 17th century Drum was twice attacked and four times captured by hostile troops. Despite backing the Jacobites during the two uprisings of the 18th Century, the Irvines bounced back and we able to hold and develop Drum further throughout the 19th Century. The Castle has been in the care of Historic Scotland since 1975. In 2012 the castle played host to the first ever ‘Ginger Snap’ – a flash mob of ginger haired folk.

The project is being funded by The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA, Historic Scotland and an anonymous donor. Work is expected to continue until the end of the year.


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