We are Tracey & Robbie and we stumbled across Culdees whilst visiting family in 2018. The Castle had been languishing in a state of disrepair for over 50 years but still a magnificent building. It was love at first site and we eventually became the new custodians of Culdees Castle and Mansion House in July 2019. We live in the mansion house next to the castle with our children and Tracey’s parents. Everyone in the family is committed to restoring the site into something magical for future generations to enjoy.
The Castle has had four Custodians in its time so far:
The land on which the castle was built was originally gifted to the Drummonds after the son of clan Chief Sir Malcom Begg, fought at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
The gifted land was a reward for fighting alongside Robert the Bruce.
The castle was designed for Charles Drummond by Scottish architect James Gillespie Graham in 1810. The castle is a three storey and basement mansion in Gothic red ashlar. The designer was also notable for designing some of Scotland’s most well known buildings. Some of his principal churches include St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow and the imposing Highland Tolbooth Church – now known as the The Hub – in Edinburgh Extensive additions were carried out to the structure by David Bryce in 1866 and an interior makeover by Lorimar. It was baronialised and extended with a new wing and Chapel a year later.
After Charles Drummond’s death the Castle was owned by Robert Napier Spier, a layman in connection with the Episcopal Church in Scotland, and then the castle was passed to his son.
Robert Thomas Napier Speir was born on 15 October 1841, the only son of Robert Speir of Culdees and Burnbrae and Mary, daughter of Sir William Milliken Napier of Milliken Park, Renfrewshire and nephew of Lady Aymee Clerk of Penicuik. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church Oxford, and married the Hon Emily Gifford, 3rd daughter of 2nd Baron Gifford in 1868. Prior to inheriting the estates he was a captain in the 4th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. His four sons all entered the army; there were two daughters.
The Speir family fortune was derived from Groves, Speir and Company.
Following his Death in 1922 it was purchased by the Maitland Gardner family in 1924
John James Maitland Gardner was born in 1874 and married Miss Margaret Thomson born 1878. John James was the grandson of Archibald Gardner, and son of Daniel Robertson Gardner. The family business was a prestigious furniture and cabinet maker’s store in Glasgow called A Gardner & Son. (now Wetherspoons) John and Margaret moved into the Castle as their family home. They had one son, Major David Maitland Gardner who married Miss Barbara Dundas. The estate was passed to them when John James died. David was a Royal Artillery Major in the war and was made a Member of the British Empire. He was also awarded a Territorial Decoration.
Colin Maitland Gardner sold the Castle, Mansion House and portion of land to Ms Tracey Horton in 2019.
Tracey Horton from Deal in Kent purchased the derelict Castle, Mansion House and portion of land in July 2019. She resides in the Mansion House next door with her Scottish Partner Mr Robbie Beaton and their extended family. Tracey is an experienced property developer and also has a long career history in senior management and events.
The castle has crumbled greatly internally but the outer walls still stand strong and a magnificent stone spiral staircase also remains leading to the upper floors. The East wing roof is also mainly intact. The family plan to restore as much of the Castle to its former glory as possible with funding being generated from Glamping, weddings and Events that will take place on site.