Monday, November 1, 2010

Castle Fraser

Castle Fraser is the most elaborate Z-plan castle in Scotland and one of the grandest 'Castles of Mar'. It is located near Kemnay in the Aberdeenshire region of Scotland. The castle stands in over 300 acres (1.2 km2) of landscaped grounds, woodland and farmland which includes a walled kitchen garden of the 19th century.

Originally known as Muchall-in-Mar, construction of the elaborate, five-storey Z-plan castle was begun in 1575 by the 6th Laird of Fraser, Michael Fraser, on the basis of an earlier tower, and was completed in 1636. A panel on the northern side of the castle is signed "I Bel", believed to be the mark of the master mason John Bell of Midmar, the castle is a joint creation over several decades with another master mason of this period, Thomas Leiper.

Castle Fraser is contemporary with other nearby castles: Craigievar Castle, Crathes Castle and Midmar Castle which are also believed to have been designed by the Bell family of master masons.

Unlike Craigiever, however, Castle Fraser maintains the traditional gray exterior of a baronial estate, though both structures represent the castle facade as regimental rather than functional. 

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