Visit Kintore and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Kintore, Aberdeenshire. A river winding about the mounds in a wide valley bottom — this was the skeleton that nature clothed with rich meadowlands, creating the lovely haugh you see today if you approach Kintore as you are best advised to do, not by the Great North Road, but by the braes of Balbithan to the North East.
Most people, however, pass through Kintore, an ancient if tiny royal burgh strung out on either side of the highway from Aberdeen to Inverness noticing the Town House in its tiny square, notable for its two quaint curving flights of stone forestairs. This building was erected in the years from 1737 to 1748. The rest of the little town is much more modern, with the exception of a pre-Reformation sculptured stone sacrament-house now placed on the stairway of the parish church on the opposite side of the main street from the Town House.
Kintore's first extant charter was granted by James IV in 1506, but it claims to have acquired its heraldic emblem, a branch of the oak tree, as the result of assisting Kenneth II to triumph over Norse invaders in A.D. 854. The tale is the rather familiar one of how cattle dressed in oak leaves were driven on to the scene of battle and thus deceived the enemy into thinking that reinforcements had arrived. At a later date, however, Kintore had its royal castle, in the heart of a royal forest, and from it Alexander III issued various charters.
The forest was granted by Robert Bruce in 1309 to Sir Robert de Keith, Marischal of Scotland, and about this time was built Hallforest Castle (1½ miles South West), a keep that strongly resembles the tower of Drum on Deeside. Twice vaulted and 60 ft high, the great oblong tower has walls 7 ft thick. Two lofty barrel-vaults, one on top of the other, were each subdivided to make four storeys, containing cellar, kitchen, hall and solar. Hallforest was inhabited until 1639, but is now a very precarious ruin.
The handsome old Town House, with its clock-tower and ogival-slated roof, was built at a cost of £850 Scots, largely subscribed by the Earl of Kintore, and contained originally a council room, a tolbooth, a school, and schoolhouse, and a meal girnal — where the grain of the tenants on the Earl of Kintore's estate who paid their rents in kind was deposited.
Visitors to Kintore should know of one of the most interesting castellated buildings in Scotland; it lies in a quiet and retired glen on the other side of the River Don from the royal burgh. This is Balbithan Castle, built by William Chalmers about 1667, the last of the turreted L-plan manors in the country. Belonging to a period when castellated houses had become thoroughly domestic, it has a captivating grace and charm. It is moving to think that at a time when great magnates of the Restoration era, such as the Earl of Kintore and the Earl of Middleton, were building in a style that looked forward to the 18th century and had none of the old tower-house characteristics, Chalmers of Balbithan preferred the native tradition that had lasted 400 years, and gave it a sweetness that it has retained unspoilt to the present day. Balbithan has the projecting jamb of its L-plan extended to such great length as to deny all thought of its being just a helpful adjunct to a keep. But it is still a true tower-house, with corner turrets, steep crow-stepped gables, and predominance of wall over window. It has been most carefully preserved, and it has a sensitive and devoted chatelaine in Mrs M. N. McMurtrie.
Nearby cities: Aberdeen
Nearby towns: Banchory, Ellon, Insch, Inverurie, Westhill
Nearby villages: Bankhead, Blackburn, Bucksburn, Bucksburn, Chapel of Garioch, Colpy, Comers, Corsindae, Craigearn, Daviot, Dunecht, Dyce, Dyce, Echt, Elrick House, Fingask, Garlogie, Hatton of Fintray, Hazlehead, Kemnay, Kinaldie, Kingswells, Kingswells, Kinmuck, Kinnernie, Kirkton of Skene, Kirktown of Bourtie, Mastrick, Monymusk, Newburgh, Newmachar, Northfield, Old Rayne, Oldmeldrum, Persley, Pitcaple, Pitfichie, Pitmedden, Pittodrie, Pittrichie, Port Elphinstone, Stoneywood, Stoneywood, Thainstone, Tillery
Have you decided to visit Kintore or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Kintore bed and breakfast (a Kintore B&B or Kintore b and b)
- a Kintore guesthouse
- a Kintore hotel (or motel)
- a Kintore self-catering establishment, or
- other Kintore accommodation