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Postcode: DD5 3JY

Lat/Long:  56.476437N 2.889955W

Notes: Located on Claypotts Road (by junction with Arbroath Road). No dedicated car parking but onroad parking possible in Claypotts Castle Gardens.


A very well preserved sixteenth century Tower House built to an unusual Z-plan. The exterior is visible anytime but the interior is only periodically opened to the public.

VISIT OFFICIAL SITE (Opens in new window)

Castle is managed by Historic Scotland.


1. Claypotts Castle has an unusual Z-plan design although some contemporary Tower Houses, such as Burleigh Castle, had a similar configuration.

Scotland > Perthshire, Kinross, Angus and Fife CLAYPOTTS CASTLE

An unusual Z-plan Tower House, Claypotts Castle was built by a minor landowner who reaped the benefits of the Scottish Reformation. Sold to the Graham family it was later confiscated by the Crown following their attempt to restore James VII after the Glorious Revolution.


Claypotts Castle was built by John Strachan between 1569-88. He had started life as a tenant of Lindores Abbey, Fife but had benefited from the Scottish Reformation that culminated in the outlawing of Catholicism in 1560. He was able to procure the land he had formerly rented and built the castle as a reflection of his new found status. This also explains the extended time constructing what is effectively a small castle for commissioning such a project must have strained John's resources. He was certainly no great magnate with access to money and manpower; indeed he seems to have had less than 10 direct employees.

Although John's new construction was a Tower House, a traditional Scottish fortified home, it adopted an unconventional design; the rectangular central tower was partially merged with two circular ones giving an unusual Z-shaped configuration. Although fitted with artillery loops these were largely decorative rather than an effective defence against any well organised force. Internally the arrangements betray the castles true function; that of a comfortable residence for the owner as evidenced from the fine viewing galleries o the upper level.

John Strachan died in 1593 and by the early seventeenth century his descendants had sold the castle to William Graham, Laird of Ballunie. His son sold it to another branch of the same family, William Graham of Claverhouse but he did not live there - instead Claypotts was used as accommodation for farm labourers.

In 1688 the castle was still owned by the same family with the then owner being John Graham, Viscount Dundee. That year the Glorious Revolution saw the increasingly unpopular James VII (II of England) deposed in favour of William of Orange. John remained loyal to King James but was killed at the Battle of Killiecrankie (1689). Claypotts was confiscated by the new Government and was later granted to James Douglas, Marquess Douglas with whose family it remained until it was placed in State care in 1929.

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