#162 Crathes Castle
Kincardine & Deeside
Aberdeenshire, Scotland
This is NOT an official Lego site

Crathes Castle is a massive L-plan tower, one of the largest and most beautiful surviving towers in Scotland.  It is five stories and a garret in height, and is almost unchanged from its completion in 1596.  The castle rests in the middle of 595 acres of land, and originally featured a walled barmkin with outbuildings, all of which are long gone.  In 1677 the third Baronet of Leys, Sir Thomas Burnett, aged 19, married Margaret Arbuthnott, the 15 year old daughter of Robert Arbuthnott, 2nd Viscount Arbuthnott, and over the next 22 years had 21 children.  To accommodate their flock, the Burnetts built a three story wing on the east end of the tower.  This addition burned down in 1966 and was replaced by the current two story wing, which I have not included in my model.
The story of Crathes Castle is the story of the Burnetts.  The de Burnards came over to the UK with the Norman invasion in 1066.  In 1323 Alexander de Burnard was given an estate by Robert the Bruce and appointed Royal Forester of Drum, with the ornate "Horn of Leys" ivory horn as his badge of office.  For the ensuing 250 year the Burnett family lived on an artificial island crannog in the middle of the now drained bog, the Loch of Leys.  In 1543 Alexander Burnett of Leys married the daughter of (the supposedly celibate) Canon Hamilton of the Abbey of Arbroath.  The unrest preceding  the Reformation of 1560 (or Janet Hamilton's dowry, depending on which story you trust) greatly increased the Burnett's wealth, and in 1553 the 9th Laird of Leys decided to abandon the bog, and build a strong castle.  There were many interruptions, as in 1563 Alexander fighting for Mary, Queen of Scots, at the Battle of Corrichie, and Alexander's son and grandson dying in quick succession.  Finally in 1596 the 12th Laird of Leys, also Alexander Burnett, completed the castle.

The Burnett family resided in Crathes Castle for the next 350 years, doing a remarkable job of avoiding the religious and political conflicts which plagued many other wealthy families in Scotland.  The closest Crathes ever came to conflict was during the Civil War, when the Marquis of Montrose and his royalist army stopped at Crathes.  The current owner, Alexander's son Thomas, had been knighted by King James VI and made the 1st Baronet of Nova Scotia by King Charles I.  Sir Thomas Burnett promptly surrendered the castle, and Thomas and the Marquis settled down to a fine dinner together.  Sir Thomas apparently also had a letter indicating his loyalty to the Parliamentarians, which he produced as needed during the rest of the Civil War.  The castle and estate were given to The National Trust of Scotland in 1951, and the castle is open to the public.  The Green Lady's room is said to be haunted, the spectre of a young woman with a baby having been seen many times.

The Green Lady's Room,
said to be haunted

Plan of the Ground Floor
Plan of the First Floor


Photos of the Lego Model
Under Construction in December 2017
Construction begins on
December 9, as the tower
is laid out.
Construction continues as
the basement takes form.
A couple of openings are
adjusted a bit to harken back
to their medieval character.
December 10 sees the
addition of the first
(main) floor...
...the large windows
suggesting the lairds
were pretty certain...
...most visitors would be of
the decidedly friendly
On December 11 more
progress is made on both
the front...
...and the back - with
the first stair turret
making an appearance.
By the 12th I've been able
to complete not only the
grand window of the Hall,
but the decorations above it.
Two days later bartizans
and turrets are beginning
to take shape on the cormers.

Finally on December 18, the
castle is ready for its roof.
It will be an exciting
challenge meshing not
only the three roofs, but
all the turrets,...

...observation deck and
parapet area together.

In Progress #1
In Progress #2
In Progress #3


Photos of the Lego Model
Built December 2017
East View: highlights
the entrance and slit
main staircase windows.
Southeast View: if
you post one photo of
your visit, this is it.
This side of the tower
caused me to shelve
this project 20 years ago:
Lego has new elements!
Southwest View
West View: cellar,
hall & bedrooms --
and lovely roofline!
Northwest View: the
'other side' of the great
view coin.
North View: there is
an intriguing array of
windows and other
features here!
Northeast View and
we're almost back to
the beginning: bartizans
This detail of the entrance to
Crathes Castle highlights the
pair of Leys Crests, which I
think came out very well.

This view shows a bit more
of the impressive architecture
of the upper portions of the
The castle actually has an
embattled parapet. A real
design challenge in Lego.
I imagine a door at the
base of the parapet
turret. I doubt an "A"
allows access here.


Build Your Own
Lego Plan with 1967 addition
(not built, but for size purposes)
Lego Top Down Plan
East Elevation
South Elevation
West Elevation
North Elevation

Other Crathes pages:

Return to the main castle page.

Castles created by Robert Carney
Page designed by Robert Carney &
Anne Sullivan
Page maintained by
Robert Carney