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TITLE
Cawdor Castle from south west
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_CARD_2685
PLACENAME
Cawdor
DISTRICT
Nairn (landward)
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
NAIRN: Cawdor
PERIOD
1880s
CREATOR
J Valentine & Co.
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
34590
KEYWORDS
postcards
castles
burns
rivers
streams
Shakespeare
tower houses
ditches
drawbridges
yetts
gates
thorn trees
donkeys
legends
vaults
Campbells
clans
Jacobites
ancestral homes
tourism
Cawdor Castle from south west

This postcard shows Cawdor Castle near Nairn, with Cawdor Burn in the foreground. According to Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', Cawdor Castle was the scene of King Duncan's death, but Macbeth died in 1052, several centuries before the present castle was built.

The early Thanes of Calder (or Cawdor) were hereditary keepers of the royal castle of Nairn but had a small country residence at Old Calder, about a mile north of the present Cawdor Castle. There is evidence to suggest that a building was begun on the present site in the late 14th century, but it was not until 1454 that Thane William of Calder received a royal licence to build a castle at Cawdor. He built a simple four-storey tower house, which was later restyled with roof turrets. It was surrounded by a ditch and the drawbridge is still in existence. The iron yett (gate) was brought from Lochindorb Castle when it was dismantled in 1457.

Tradition has it that the castle was erected around a thorn tree after Thane William was told in a dream to load his treasure chest onto a donkey and to build his keep wherever the beast stopped to rest. The donkey lay down beside a thorn tree and the area was cleared for the foundations of the tower. The remains of a tree are still preserved in a vaulted apartment at the bottom of the tower and carbon dating has shown it to be approximately 600 years old.

The original family name was Calder but in 1510 Muriel Calder, aged 13, was forced to marry Sir John Campbell, son of the Earl of Argyll, and the lands and title passed to the Campbell clan. In the late 17th century Sir Hugh Campbell of Cawdor made some major alterations and additions to the castle, not long before he and his family were forced to leave Cawdor because of their Jacobite sympathies. They lived in Wales for much of the next century before returning as the Earls of Cawdor to work on the restoration and conservation of the castle. Cawdor Castle is still home to the Cawdor family as well as being a significant visitor attraction.

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Cawdor Castle from south west

NAIRN: Cawdor

1880s

postcards; castles; burns; rivers; streams; Shakespeare; tower houses; ditches; drawbridges; yetts; gates; thorn trees; donkeys; legends; vaults; Campbells; clans; Jacobites; ancestral homes; tourism

Highland Libraries

Highland Libraries' Postcard Collection

This postcard shows Cawdor Castle near Nairn, with Cawdor Burn in the foreground. According to Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', Cawdor Castle was the scene of King Duncan's death, but Macbeth died in 1052, several centuries before the present castle was built.<br /> <br /> The early Thanes of Calder (or Cawdor) were hereditary keepers of the royal castle of Nairn but had a small country residence at Old Calder, about a mile north of the present Cawdor Castle. There is evidence to suggest that a building was begun on the present site in the late 14th century, but it was not until 1454 that Thane William of Calder received a royal licence to build a castle at Cawdor. He built a simple four-storey tower house, which was later restyled with roof turrets. It was surrounded by a ditch and the drawbridge is still in existence. The iron yett (gate) was brought from Lochindorb Castle when it was dismantled in 1457.<br /> <br /> Tradition has it that the castle was erected around a thorn tree after Thane William was told in a dream to load his treasure chest onto a donkey and to build his keep wherever the beast stopped to rest. The donkey lay down beside a thorn tree and the area was cleared for the foundations of the tower. The remains of a tree are still preserved in a vaulted apartment at the bottom of the tower and carbon dating has shown it to be approximately 600 years old.<br /> <br /> The original family name was Calder but in 1510 Muriel Calder, aged 13, was forced to marry Sir John Campbell, son of the Earl of Argyll, and the lands and title passed to the Campbell clan. In the late 17th century Sir Hugh Campbell of Cawdor made some major alterations and additions to the castle, not long before he and his family were forced to leave Cawdor because of their Jacobite sympathies. They lived in Wales for much of the next century before returning as the Earls of Cawdor to work on the restoration and conservation of the castle. Cawdor Castle is still home to the Cawdor family as well as being a significant visitor attraction.