HISTORIC SEAT OF CLAN FARQUHARSON #2
In the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, stands Braemar Castle, for almost three centuries, home to the Chiefs of Clan Farquharson. Built in 1628 by John Erskine, the 2nd Earl of Mar, the Castle has witnessed the rise and rise of Clan Farquharson on Royal Deeside.
The 10th Chief of Clan Farquharson took ownership of the Castle in 1732. Since then, the Castle, and the Farquharson Clan Chiefs, have played host to a dazzling array of guests including many members of the Royal family. Queen Victoria attended the Braemar Highland Gathering at the Castle on numerous occasions, King Edward the VII was a frequent visitor and drinking buddy of the 13th Laird. The late Queen Mother and HM the Queen have visited and Prince Charles and Princess Anne played in the Castle as children. HRH Prince Charles continues to show a great interest in the Castle’s fortunes. He has appointed his “Prince’s Foundation” to work with the Castle team on our “Raising the Standard” project to renew the external rendering and upgrade facilities.
Scotland’s turbulent story has left its mark on our Castle. The Earl of Mar’s grand hunting lodge was torched during the first Jacobite uprising in 1689. The Jacobite “Black Colonel”, John Farquharson of Inverey set fire to the Government-supporting Earl’s Castle destroying the roof and upper floors. But by 1715, the Earl of Mar had become a Jacobite and, with the Chief of Clan Farquharson, raised the Clans to start the second Jacobite Uprising in Braemar.
Following the Jacobites’ defeat and the Earl of Mar’s exile, John Farquharson was reprieved and bought the Earl’s Castle. The Chief’s support for the Hanoverian Government was sealed by his agreement to lease the Castle to the Government to accommodate troops following the Jacobite’s final defeat at Culloden in 1746. Their task was to flush out any remaining Jacobite supporters. However, with little going on, the troops passed the time by graffitiing the Castle’s window panels!
By the early 1800s peace had been restored to the Highlands. The Castle re-emerged as a party house, a lavish venue for a string of glittering guests for over a century. Then, In the early 1960s, the 16th Chief of Clan Farquharson, Captain Alwyne Farquharson and his entrepreneurial American wife, Frances made the decision to open the Castle to the public.
After almost 400 years, the building is in need of tender loving care. Now operated by the community of Braemar, their mission is to prepare the Castle for the next stage of its story, as a community asset, serving visitors, the village and Clan Farquharson. Since taking over in 2007, half a million pounds has been raised and the roof and chimneys repaired. “Raising the Standard” is a £1.5M restoration, engagement and education project supported by Historic Environment Scotland and the National Heritage Lottery Fund. Since launch, £1.1M has been pledged with another £400K needed to reach the target of £1.5M. We are optimistic that with the help of the Clan worldwide, the Castle’s future will be secured. To donate please click on the link
Vice Chair Braemar Community Ltd.