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Primary ReferenceNH95NE0003
NRHE Card No.NH95NE4
NRHE Numlink 15530
HES LB No. 2283
Site Form Standing Structure
Site Condition Complete 2
Details Darnaway Castle was the principal residence of Earls of Moray since the Middle Ages. The date of the first castle is unknown, but some structure may have stood here since the 12th century. All that survives of one of the earlier castles is the ancient hall which was begun in circa 1450. Known as Randolph's Hall, it was named after Thomas Randolph who died in 1332. It was probably begun by Archibald Douglas, Earl of Moray who was killed in 1455, and finally finished for King James II. The hall has one of the finest surviving hammer beam roofs in Scotland. The rest of the castle was demolished when the mansion was built for Francis Stewart, 9th Earl of Moray, by Alexander Laing between 1802 and 1812, incorporating the old hall, although it was re-faced and altered. The mansion is in castellated style with a long 3- and 4-storey block of 11 rectangular bays, with Randolph's Hall projecting to the rear, forming a T-plan. A further single storey kitchen range of varied height extends at the W. Built of tooled red sandstone ashlar with polished ashlar dressings, it has piended slated roofs behind crenallated parapets and angle turrets. The outer and centre three bays are slightly advanced, with the centre block rising to four storeys. A porch and balustraded terrace were added in the later 19th century. There is a centre entrance in the raised ground floor in the north front is reached by a balustraded perron, built in 1870, that is linked to a balustraded screen wall masking a raised basement. The entrance porch is flanked by engaged columns, linked by a balustrade with a coat of arms. The storeys are delineated by band courses and all windows, except for in the raised basement. They are hoodmoulded, and pointed headed in the centre three bays on the raised ground and first floors, and linked by cill bands. There is a corbelled and crenellated wallhead with dummy angle bartizans and piended platform slate and lead roofs. Randolph's Hall has three long Y-traceried windows with stained glass light in the east and west elevations, and further windows in the S gable. There is a crenellated wallhead matching the frontage, and a steeply pitched slate roof. There is an extensive single storey kitchen range, lit by pointed- and square-headed windows (the former with intersecting tracery). A clock tower with open cupola above the clock stage is capped by a leaded multi-facetted dome, with four diminutive louvred lucarnes and a weathervane finial. The clock tower was originally designed as water tower. The clock was installed in circa 1950, having been removed from Kinfauns, Perthshire, after Moray Estates disposed of that property. The service court is enclosed by high buttressed wall, dated to 1920. INTERIOR: the entrance hall has an ornate plaster frieze and four marbled columns and a marble chimneypiece with swagged detailing. The entrance hall leads directly to Randolph's Hall, with a mid-15th century hammer beam roof, which was re-modelled in 1802-12 and circa 1900. The mirrored east and west stairhalls and staircases are linked at the raised ground and first floors by long corridors with intermediate arches. There is an ornate cast-iron balustrade to the staircases with lion's head detailing, and a decorative plaster ceiling to the stairwell. The drawing room has a white marble chimneypiece, and a plaster frieze with an anthemion and urn decoration. The dining room has a screen of marbled columns separating the sideboard recess, a grey marble chimneypiece with fluted columns and a swagged frieze. The kitchen is linked to dining room by a colonaded passage. A wide, raised, balustraded terrace encloses the area fronting the main entrance to the castle, and there is further balustraded terracing at the east.
Last Update28/07/2022
Updated Bycpalmer
Date of Compilation 

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National Grid Reference: NH 9946 5506

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