A History of the Architectural Design of Castle Fraser, Aberdeen

As an atmospheric baronial palace that could day of the month back to the 15th century, Castle Fraser was one time the place of the Fraser household. The landscape of Castle Fraser remains overpowering after about 300 old ages, to the people who approach it for the first clip. Visitors to the estate are confronted with ‘one of the most dramatic of the Castles of Mar ‘ , which is the largest and most luxuriant Scots palace. The palace was built on the ‘Z-plan’ design and stands in 140 hectares of beautiful farming area. Following the forest trails, visitants could venture through the palace and up to the unit of ammunition tower, with its bird’s-eye positions of the gardens and estate beyond, they have a glance of the life in the medieval to the Victorian period. The chief palace itself was completed around 1636, there were several eighteenth- and nineteenth-century alterations.
The name of Fraser initiated in Anjou in France.
The history of Castle Fraser could be traced to the center of 14th century, the clip when James II gave the lands around Muchall and Stoneywood to Thomas Fraser as a gift. At the get downing Castle Fraser bore the name of Muchall-in-Mar ( as the castle’s former name until 1695 ) .

The edifice work of Castle Fraser was completed between 1575 and 1635. In the 1570s, Michael Fraser decided to construct a larger house for his household, with the name of “ Michael ‘s Tower ” , but the palace remained under building at his decease in the terminal of the 1580s. Therefore, his inheritor, Andrew Fraser completed the palace after his decease, to the visual aspect that it has now. After that there have been some little alterations in the early 19th century and a new expansive stairway in Victorian times ( which was demolished after the Second World war ) .
In the twelvemonth of 1976, the palace itself and land of 26 estates were gifted to the National Trust for Scotland. At that clip, Major and Mrs Smiley were the last proprietors.
Castle Fraser set amidst 120 hectares of beautiful gardens and unfastened forest, merely 16 stat mis from Aberdeen. The design of Castle Fraser ‘s landscape is chiefly done by Thomas White in 1794. Naturally, it is surrounded by the grassland with higher degree. The scope of degree difference within the estate between highest and lowest is 30 metres about. However, sing the country, it is instead smooth and level comparatively.
The estate has two easy followed trails go throughing through a mixture of parkland, farming area and forest, with the opening positions of Bennachie. The ancient system of shared agriculture on unfastened Fieldss was replaced by a more profit-driven, agriculturally ‘improved ‘ estate, together with stylish leisure countries and an attractive parkland scene.
Castle Fraser. as a well-preserved five-storey tower edifice, was chiefly built from local granite. It a Z-shaped architecture with a rectangular chief edifice and two towers at diagonally opposing corners of it, as an ordinary manner of Scots palace at that clip. It is surrounded by over 300 estates of unfastened wood and farm, with a specially designed walled garden. It is owned by the National Trust for Scotland and is unfastened to tourers during the and is unfastened to tourers in the summer. It is a good topographic point for nuptialss and corporate events as good.
Aberdeenshire finest master-masons made a great part to an about perfect Z-plan massing of blocks combined with an antic upperworks as amplification ; Since the clip is near to the extremum of Renaissance Aberdeenshire, the palace was furnished with a prodigious asymmetrical sleeping room stack of six floors which yet trys to do a balance of the whole.
Immediately environing the palace, but with a greater extent to the West than the East is an enclosure known as the Cherry Yard, presumptively planted with cherry trees, and beyond it to the West is a larger enclosure, the Ducat Yard. And the Cherry Yard is to the West, as expressed in the map of Policies in 1780.
The landscape today of Castle Fraser was established in the eighteenth and early 19th centuries. Former estate programs show that the gardens built following to the palace in typical Scots chateau manner, with the doocot ( dovercote ) and red paces to the West and a big, likely hedged, garden to the E. With its gramd entryway to the palace, the Broad Walk, an avenue of lacewood trees acted as a way and welcome to the courtyard. However, things were different during the eighteenth and early 19th centuries, when the centuries-old community system of joint agriculture on unfastened Fieldss was one time replaced by a profit-driven, agriculturally ‘improved ‘ estate. It is the intentional landscape of this period today.
Many of these alterations were carried out by Elyza Fraser, the Laird of Castle Fraser between 1792 and 1814, carried out. She invited a pupil of the celebrated English landscape interior decorator Capability Brown, Thomas White, to plan those betterments to the landscape. It was unusual at the clip for a adult female to play such an active and outstanding function in estate direction. The stallss were built ( to an bing design by John Paterson ) ; a snaky lake, decorated with two swans and a rowing boat, was dug to the south-east of the palace ; and the walled garden was built in 1795.
There is a tall cistern and pumphouse of a mechanical H2O pump on the Alton Brae. And it had an of import function of supplying a H2O supply to the palace and estate. It was installed in the early 1900s, and powered by a modern electrical pump now.
There is a natural spring here that served as portion of Miss Bristow’s landscaping strategy. It is a re-used triangular rock from above a dormer window, about surely from the palace, and day of the months from the 1630s. The carven initials -LAF- base for Lord Andrew Fraser. The Moses Well House is more cryptic. The beautiful rock panels form portion of one big panel picturing the Old Testament prophesier Moses, surrounded by scenes from his life. They were carved in the mid-1600s, perchance in the Netherlands, and likely for an of import church. The reply of how or when they came to Castle Fraser is yet under outlook.
There are tonss of workss in Miss Bristow ‘s Wood besides merely trees. Wildflowers can be seen throughout Miss Bristow’s Wood. Small white flowers of wood oxalis, wood windflowers and wild hyacinths appear in spring, with tall steeples of digitaliss and tap Rhododendron maxima willowherb emerging in the summer.
Inside the wood stands the memorial for Mary Bristow, which was set by Elyza Fraser The lettering on it is: Farewell! Alas how much less is the society of others than the memory of thee.
There are two chief trails to acquire straightly to the palace. One is in the North and the other is in the West. The earliest estate map to demo the lay-out of the policies could be dated back every bit early as 1788, and likely it keeps a record of an agreement from the the late 17th century. The map shows that the Castle stands at the junction of four great avenues of lacewoods. The chief ocular axis is the avenue to the North – the Broad Avenue – which is the widest 1 as the name suggests, but the most of import entree must hold been from the West Avenue, since it led to the Aberdeen route at Broomdyke
It is the Broad Walk of lacewoods that acts as an chief attack to the palace itself. The Broad Walk through Alton Brae one time connected the palace with the old Aberdeen. The trees here were planted more than 200 old ages ago.
A squad of cattle one time pulled a large and heavy Big Dipper, and so those long additive ridges in the Alton Brea came into being as remains of mediaeval cultivation rigs. Cereals were grown on top of them.
The Alton Brea trail begins in the Fieldss and windbreaks with agricultural usage, and so passes the Alton Brae forests, inside which a big scope of birds exist, treecreepers, longtailed breasts and coal breasts and so on. And the finish of the Alton Brea trail isthe flight Pond. This flight pool is non a outstanding topographic point for wildlife, since it was created at start to pull animate beings for hiting. In the late 17th century, this country around this beautiful pool was divided into topographic points for the laird to feed their animals and so direct them to the market. This mosaic of home grounds at Castle Fraser encourages a big scope of species to come.
All in all, The estate’s design achieves practical functionality every bit good as astonishing views.
Mary Bristow was the interior decorator of this forest, known as Miss Bristow’s Wood, as a pleasance land full of weaving waies, pleasant clearings and distant positions. Elyza Fraser and Mary Bristow developed these forests from agricultural land. They spent more than ?9,600 ( over ?500,000 today ) between 1797 and 1800 to carry through this task.Miss Bristow’s Trail ( 1.25 stat mis ) is named after Mary Bristow. The trail besides passes interesting archeological characteristics including the Moses Well.
Merely to the North of Castle Fraser, there is a traditional walled garden of trees, bushs and herbaceous plantings, a medicative and culinary boundary line and organically adult fruit and veggies. The rectangular walled garden contains 17th-century sundial with complex lectern dial in freestone.
The garden depicted on the 1788/9 program is likely to hold been first designed and laid out shortly after the east wing of the palace was completed in 1633/4 ( Fraser 2010 ) and by the clip it was dismantled in 1796 the garden had been in being for over 160 old ages. The Walled Garden on this site was built in this location to replace the walled enclosures to the E and South of the Castle, as expressed in the 1788 map. It is possible that there has been alterations after that, non merely the replacing and remotion of workss and trees, but besides likely alterations in the building of the garden, such as the waies and walls
The manner that Walled Garden expressions now could dates from about 1977-78, and it is designed by Eric Robson, the former NTS Head of Gardens.
The walled garden provided the palace with fruit, veggies and flowers, and contained a vineyard and two Prunus persica houses. The west portion of the garden is for veggies. The east portion is of assorted boundary lines and lawn. Both of them are separated by violet beech hedges from the cardinal of the garden. An avenue of tree rows stand on the axis of the garden. A pump has been installed inside the garden. One little greenhouse remains on the north wall with the bothy edifice on the exterior of the wall. This is portion 2-storey, portion 1-storey, in unsmooth squared granite blocks with some snecking: in usage as public lavatories and a nurseryman ‘s room.
Deserving to advert that in 1959, the south boundary line of the garden replied to one of the design of James Russell in Sunningdale Nurseries. The are assorted bushs and herbaceous workss, with some roses and lilies. By 1978 most of the original workss died. so the boundary line was replanted and redesigned by Eric Robson.
The north wall was heated. However, there is lone portion of this system remains low in the wall of the brick arches. It was the ovens ‘ occupation to plug the air through flukes inside the walls. They have to do a batch of work to return the gardens to what they used to be in 18th century. The gardens besides feature the ‘Woodland Secrets’ escapade resort area and trails. Two manner marked walks offer brilliant positions of the local hills.
Since 1976, the National Trust for Scotland has farther developed the gardens. The chief regeneration work is between 2003 and 2005. The Woodland Secrets play country was specially designed for amuze the kids.
The site known today as the Castle Frazer rock circle is situated about 800 m to the West
of the palace in the parish of Cluny. The circle is about 20.4m of diameter and it comprises the seeable remains of the rock circle – seven independent standing rocks, in which two of which have now fallen down.
The circle one time was consisted of 11 rocks, merely nine remains now. The Altar “ ( the recumbent slab ) ” measures 6’ 9” in length and is 4’ 6” in tallness. The rock at its East terminal is 6’ 7” high and 4’ 6” broad at the base. About 200 gaits due easts are two rocks a few gaits distant from each other and about 7’ high’ .
The circle is to some extent guerrilla in form. The ‘Altarstone ‘ is about due south from the Centre. There is a little homocentric circle, 13 pess in diameter, within the larger one, but merely defined at the North and South sides, as shewn in the ground-plan, – by rocks sunk in the land down to the sub-soil and demoing themselves a few inches above land. They touch each other, and demo by and large a level side turned to the Centre of the circle.
The whole country of the Circle was found to be paved closely and steadfastly with little bowlders, lying about 6 inches below the surface.

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