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Turriff b&b, guesthouse and hotel accommodation

Turriff in Aberdeenshire

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Visit Turriff and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:

Turriff, Aberdeenshire. There is an Aberdeenshire saying, “Tuna, Turra, faur the sorra idder?” This, roughly translated, means “Turriff, of course, where else, in the name of mischief, would anyone want to go?” It gives an inkling of the importance of this red sandstone town.

Turriff is mentioned in the 12th century Book of Deer, and was created a burgh of barony in 1511. Its ancient ruined church, on a site occupied by a religious foundation since the 12th century, has a belfry and a fine-toned bell dated 1559. The present church was built in 1794, and other old buildings in the town are few. It is remembered in history for the “Trot of Turriff”, the first serious clash of arms in the Civil War when a band of Covenanters was routed by a Royalist force in May 1639. But Turriff, which stands on a plateau overlooking the confluence of the Deveron and the Water of Idoch, is the centre of a district particularly rich in castles and tower-houses.

Delgatie Castle (2 miles West) and Towie Barclay Castle (3 miles South) are known to have been built by the same master mason in the 16th century, although his name is not recorded. They belong to a group of four Aberdeenshire castles, all on the L-plan, built for families closely related and united by loyalty to Mary Queen of Scots and the Catholic religion; and, quite naturally in the circumstances, they show many common features. At Delgatie, an original stone keep of the 13th century that had been added to and extended at least three times, was completely rebuilt on the L-plan. Like its “relatives”, the castles of Craig, Gight, and Towie Barclay, it was given distinctive groin-vaulting. In the solar, the laird's private room, the ribs of the groin-vaulted roof sweep up to a central boss bearing the arms of Gilbert Hay, 4th Earl of Erroll. The fireplace has the motto “My Hoyp is in Ye Lord 1570”. Two of the castle's rooms have painted ceilings. In 1950 the lath and plaster was removed from the ceiling of the Tulip Room, to reveal beams dated 1592 and bearing Scottish proverbs culled from a book published early in the 16th century. The Painted Room on the floor above also has proverbs on its beams, between which are amusingly satirical paintings in gay colours. The central keep is surmounted by open battlements with bartizan and sculptural enrichments.

In 1948 Delgatie Castle passed into the hands of the Countess of Erroll, thus returning to the Hay family who had owned it 300 years before. In 1951 it was made over as a Clan Hay centre, with Captain John Hay of Hayfield as the Countess's commissioner-in-residence.

Towie Barclay Castle was built shortly after 1587. The hall has been described as “one of the noblest and most imaginative of all the tower-house interiors”. Although so late in date, it is completely Gothic and medieval in inspiration. It consists of a single high ribvaulted chamber in two bays, with ridge and transverse ribs, diagonal ribs, sculptured corbels, and heavy pendant bosses, also sculptured. The most remarkable feature of all is a small oratory above the entrance to the hall and separated from it only by a parapet. Once of four storeys, this mighty keep suffered a rude curtailment in 1792, when the tenant of the adjoining farm removed the turrets and battlements, and took two storeys off the tower and roofed it with slate. This noble Gothic hall was latterly used as a Free Church sunday-school.

Craigston Castle (4 miles North Norhteast of Turriff) was built between 1604 and 1607 by John Urquhart, the Tutor of Cromarty, so called because he was the tutor of his grand-nephew Sir Thomas, father of the “great” Sir Thomas Urquhart, the translator of Rabelais.

The Urquharts of Craigston are the only branch of the family still in possession of their landed estates, and the library at the very top of the house is something of a shrine commemorating those Scots who, each in their various ways, embodied the national genius.

Like so many things those Urquharts did, the house that John built was highly original, not to say peculiar, its nearest relative in appearance being the great show fašade of Fyvie Castle. It consisted of a main block in two wings thrown out to the front and joined by a lofty and deep, round arch, supporting a highly ornate sculptured balcony. It is a splendid piece of Renaissance fancy.

Fastened into the l8th century doors, walls, and shutters of the two rooms is a sequence of carved panels in oak, dating from the early 17th century. In the Queen's Room at Craigston is John Urquhart's oak chest. Carved in relief in the front are the arms of the Tutor of Cromarty.

Nearby towns: Banff, Huntly, Insch, Macduff, Portsoy

Nearby villages: Aberchirder, Blackford, Bogniebrae, Boyndie, Buchan, Clunie, Cobairdy, Cornhill, Corse, Corse, Crovie, Cuminestown, Cushnie, Drumblade, Dunlugas, Fyvie, Gamrie, Gardenstown, Garmond, Gordonstown, Inverkeithny, Kirktown of Alvah, Kirktown of Auchterless, Largue, Longmanhill, Marnoch, Methlick, Mountblairy, Newbyth, Oldmeldrum, Pennan, Plaidy, Rothienorman, Slioch, Tifty, Wells of Ythan, Whitehills

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