Friday, 3 June 2005
With its portraits, oak ceilings, heraldic shields, Elizabethan fireplace and more, Crathes is uniquely preserved. The castle is particularly famous for its Jacobean painted ceilings, only uncovered in 1877. These can be seen in the Chamber of the Muses, the Chamber of Nine Worthies and the Green Lady's Room - which is said to be haunted.
One of the most historic objects is the Horn of Leys, a jewelled ivory horn on display in the hall. It is thought to have been given by Robert the Bruce to the Burnetts in 1323 when he granted them the Lands of Leys and the instructions have always been to remove this first in event of a fire - even ahead of Burnett's wife!
In 1553 they began to build the castle. It wasn't completed until at least 1596 and the east-wing was added in the 18th century. The castle stayed in the hands of the same family until 1951 when Sir James Burnett presented Crathes to the National Trust for Scotland. The current visitor centre stands in place of the Queen Anne wing which was destroyed by fire in 1966.