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Side view of Castle Forbes

Courtyard of Castle Forbes


Castle Forbes lounge (living room)


Tapestry embroidered by Mary, Queen of Scots, and her ladies-in-waiting, during her house arrest at Bolton Castle around 1568.


Portrait of Nigel Ivan, 22nd Lord Forbes See more portraits in Castle Forbes here.


In 1990, the rebuilding of the front entrance was supervised by Major Mike Taitt (top left). Malcolm, Lord Forbes, inspects the work, in the lower right. 

Former dairy barn, converted to perfumery 


Castle Forbes, Seat of the Clan Chief

Castle Forbes is a frequent stop for members of Clan Forbes who visit Scotland! The castle is the private home of Malcolm and Jinny, Lord and Lady Forbes, who are willing to welcome guests with prior notice.


Castle Forbes is built on land granted to Sir Alexander Forbes (later the 1st Lord Forbes) in 1411 for his part in the defeat of Donald of the Isles at the Battle of Harlaw. Due to increasing debt, James, 16th Lord Forbes (1725 – 1808), was forced to sell the estate of Druminnor Castle (the original Castle Forbes) in 1770. He moved his family to Putachie House, the original name of the castle. Between 1807 and 1818, his son,  James Ochoncar, 17th Lord Forbes (1765 – 1843), greatly expanded the house in the Scottish baronial architecture style.

In 1807, the original architect John Paterson wanted to build on a new site below the old house due to drainage and landscaping factors. Lord Forbes disagreed and hired architect Archibald Simpson to incorporate the old house into the new. The old house can be seen between the square and the round tower on the main front. However, after Simpson encountered structural problems and the original section of the house (probably from c. 1600) began to crack, Simpson was dismissed and the work was completed in 1818 by the City Architect of Aberdeen, John Smith.


Map of Castle Forbes estate with Castle, gardens, stone circle,

offices, kirkyard, and castle.

In notes preserved by his wife, Master of Forbes, James (1796- 1835) recounted some of his memories of the construction Castle Forbes. For example, “A large ash tree, which stood very near where the present one stands by the terrace, was cut down and used as a beam in the dining room.” He also confirmed that the bear’s head stone over the fireplace was found at Logie-Braes of Forbes” and “was taken out of the wall above the back gate of the old house of Putachie.” Lord Forbes was devoted to his woods and between the years 1805 and 1814 he planted over 6,888,360 trees on the property.

Atholl Laurence Cunyngham, 21st Lord Forbes (1882 – 1953), modernized the castle by installing bathrooms, wash-hand basins, central heating, and electricity from a turbine at the old sawmill on the River Don. This remained till main electricity was connected after 1945. In World War II between 1939 and 1945, Lord Forbes loaned Castle Forbes to the Department of Health as an Auxiliary Hospital for convalescent servicemen.

When he died, his wife Lady Mabel continued to live in the castle while their son Nigel Ivan, 22nd Lord Forbes (1918 – 2013), and his family lived in nearby Whitehouse. In 1964, Nigel, Lord Forbes, transferred the majority of the land of Forbes Estate, except for the castle and policies (nearby land), into a trust for his children and grandchildren. In 1973, he gifted the Castle Forbes estate to his eldest son, Malcolm, then Master of Forbes. 

In the 1990, Malcolm and Jinny, Lady Forbes, began extensive renovations of the castle. They first demolished the old kitchen in the back of the castle. The old kitchen fireplaces are still visible under the greenery. They used the stock blocks to build the current circular planter in the now enlarged courtyard, restore the old dairy barn, and, most importantly, to rebuild the front entrance which Nigel, 22nd Lord Forbes, had removed. Overseeing the job was Major Mike Taitt, who had retired from the British Army in 1983 and established an award-winning business restoring old buildings.


Today, Castle Forbes estate is managed by Clan Chief Malcolm Forbes, 23rd Lord Forbes and his wife Jinny, Lady Forbes. During an online Clan Forbes Gathering in October 2021, Lord Forbes provided a tour of the castle and answered questions posed by the participants of the Clan Gathering. 

Castle Forbes Perfumery

In 1996, a former dairy building was converted into a small perfumery. Castle Forbes became one of the smallest and most exclusive private family perfumeries in the world. Castle Forbes premium grooming products for men were created by Jinny, Lady Forbes, in 1996. She began experimenting with the combination of different scents in the old dairy building in the back of Castle Forbes.


Joined by perfumery expert and family friend, Andrew French, she used only pure essential oils and other natural ingredients to create high-end luxury products. The perfumery's mission is to create a selection of unique scents that captured the essence of the castle and the surrounding landscapes. Castle Forbes has now developed the ultimate range of male grooming products and fine fragrances which are renowned for their quality and performance.

Learn more here: Castle Forbes Boutique Shop


Cothiemuir Hill: Woodland Burial Ground


Cothiemuir Hill is a haven of peace and natural beauty at the heart of the historic Forbes Estate. For over 4,500 years, the site has been dominated by a Neolithic stone circle. Today, Cothiemuir Hill serves as a fully sustainable natural burial ground. Only small, locally- sourced memorial stones are permitted in the five sections: Oak, Rowan, Ash, Blackthorn, and Beech. Cothiemuir Hill offers a peaceful final resting place in beautiful countryside for all clan members. For more information, please see the Cothiemuir Hill Brochure

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