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MAINS CASTLE, DD4 9BX

GETTING THERE

Postcode: DD4 9BX

Lat/Long:  56.485650N 2.958234W

Notes: Located on Caird Park just to the north of Dundee. There is vehicular access into the park from both the A90 and Claverhouse Road. A small car park is found opposite the castle.

WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?

A sixteenth century fortified residence augmented by a distinctive seventeenth century tower. The castle is a private residence but it is set within a public park offering good views of the exterior.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

1. The castle was built by Sir David Graham whose family were known as the Grahams of Fintry. The new fortification therefore became known as Fintry Castle or the Mains of Fintry.


2. James Key Caird purchased Mains Castle from the Erskine family. He is famous as one of the sponsors of Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914 Antarctic expedition in which his ship, the Endurance, became trapped in pack ice forcing the explorer to make a perilous 800 nautical mile journey from Elephant Island in Antarctica to South Georgia in one of the ship's small open boats. The small boat was named James Caird.

Scotland > Perthshire, Kinross, Angus and Fife MAINS CASTLE

Mains Castle (previously known as Fintry Castle) was built bySir David Graham, nephew to Cardinal Beaton. It was subsequently owned by the Erskine family before being sold to James Key Caird, a Dundee entrepreneur who partly funded the ill-fated 1914 Shackleton expedition to Antarctica. Today the castle is a private residence.

HISTORY OF MAINS CASTLE (FORMERLY FINTRY CASTLE)


The land of which Mains Castle was built was originally held by the Stewarts and then, from the late fourteenth century, by the Douglas family. It was probably the latter who built the first fortification utilising a naturally defendable position between the Gelly Burn and a ravine. It remained a Douglas property until the sixteenth century when Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus became embroiled in the power struggles associated with the minority of King James V. Originally the magnate had control of the young King but his escape heralded the downfall of Douglas; in May 1529 he fled to England with the forfeiture of his estates.


The next owners were the Graham family from Fintry who were related to the powerful Cardinal Beaton, Archbishop of St Andrews and had continued to prosper even after his murder in 1546. It was Sir David Graham, nephew of the former Archbishop, who completely rebuilt Fintry Castle from 1562 in the form of a courtyard castle. The new construction had ranges on the north, east and south sides whilst the gate access was in the western wall. The six storey square tower, which today dominates the site, was built in the seventeenth century probably for aesthetic reasons rather than any defensive requirement.


The Graham family continued to own the castle until the mid-nineteenth century when Robert Graham sold it to David Erskine. A condition of the sale was the name change - the Grahams wished to maintain their title 'of Fintry' and therefore the structure became known as Mains Castle at this time. The adjacent estate reverted to its former name of Linlathen.


The Erskines sold the estate in the early twentieth century to James Key Caird, a Dundee born entrepreneur who had made his fortune in the textile industry. He gifted the castle and its estates to the Council in 1913 and a decade later a public park (Caird Park) was opened. But the Council neglected the structure and by the mid-twentieth century it was a roofless ruin. Renovation took place in the 1980s and today the castle is leased by the Council as a private residence.

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