Old Slains Castle

(Old Castle of Slains, Slains Castle)

The much ruined remains of Old Slains Castle lie on a headland, 1¼ miles (2 km) northeast of Collieston in Aberdeenshire. A small part of an oblong keep survives, which once rose to five storeys. This had been built in the mid-15th century inside an earlier structure dating from the 13th century, which comprised an extensive courtyard surrounded by ditches.

Originally the property of the Comyn Earls of Buchan until their forfeiture in the 14th century, the estates of Slains were given to Sir Gilbert Hay by Robert the Bruce (1274 - 1329) in recognition for his support against the English. The castle had gained a wall defending the landward side by the early 16th century. However, in 1594, Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll (c.1564 - 1631), along with other nobles led a rebellion which was put down by James VI, who destroyed Old Slains with gunpowder and cannon. After returning from exile, Hay built a new castle on the site of the former Bowness Castle 6 miles (10 km) to the northeast, which he renamed Slains.

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