Brodick Castle

The Garden at Brodick Castle
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

The Garden at Brodick Castle

Overlooking Brodick Bay from the southern slopes of Goatfell on the Isle of Arran, Brodick Castle was the ancient seat of the Dukes of Hamilton. Today, the castle comprises a grand A-listed red sandstone pile, representing an outstanding and early example of a fortified country house, recast in the Scots Baronial style.

A fortified tower was built on the site of a Viking fortress in the 13th Century and was garrisoned by the English forces of King Edward I. In 1307, Sir James Douglas removed the English to retake the castle on behalf of Robert the Bruce. It was King James III who granted Brodick to James, Lord Hamilton. The family extended the castle in the 16th Century and it was extended again for Oliver Cromwell's troops in the 17th Century. In 1844 Princess Marie of Baden, wife of the 11th Duke of Hamilton, added a substantial Victorian extension, using the architect James Gillespie Graham. Their granddaughter, Lady Mary Louise, the Duchess of Montrose, lived in the castle until her death in 1957. The following year the ownership of Brodick Castle passed to the National Trust for Scotland.

While much of the Hamilton's massive art collection was sold off between 1880 and 1920, what is left at Brodick remains of national importance. Items include porcelain, paintings, silverware, sporting trophies and period furniture. Amongst the paintings are a fine collection of family portraits and notable racing scenes from the 19th Century, along with the Beckford collection of gold and silver artefacts, which came into the family on the marriage of Susan Beckford to the 10th Duke of Hamilton.

Between 1987 and 2020, Brodick Castle has featured on the rear of Royal Bank of Scotland £20 notes. The gardens and policies at Brodick form a Country Park.

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