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This building is in the Highland Council and the Golspie Parish. It is a category A building and was listed on 18/03/1971.

Group Items: N/A, Group Cat: N/A, Map Ref: NC 8504 820.


Vast Baronial turretted mansion, mainly Sir Charles Barry,

1835-50, with subsequent repairs and alterations by Sir

Robert Lorimer, 1919, all encasing 14th century square

tower with abutting 17th century drum stair tower with

small pedimented windows; also further 17th century L-plan

tower house wing with angle turrets, and 1788-95 wing.

Mainly 3 storeys and attic.

Materials; 14th century tower and stair tower, rubble;

17th century range, harled to inner court, rendered to

outer faces; 18th century wing, rendered; 19th century

work, tooled ashlar with polished dressings, battered

rubble plinth, and terrace retaining walls at south.

Main entrance elevation at north dominated by square

4-stage tower with round-headed porte cochere in base

with pedimented and balconied 1st floor window above,

clasping angle turrets corbelled from 3rd floor, corbelled

castellated parapet and centre romantic corbelled square

turret with steep pyramidal roof in the manner of

Viollet-le-Duc. Tower at angle of 2 lower ranges

similarly detailed but with pedimented wallhead at right

of main north range, with ogee slated roof and ornate

clock faces above corbelled balcony with decorative

cast-iron balustrade.

Expansive south elevation set at 3 angles with tall angle

drum towers with corbelled upper stage to those clasping

taller eastern block, and attenuated conical decorative

fish-scale and ribbed leaded roofs with terminating

cast-iron finials.

Ornamental pediments to 1st floor windows of drawing

room and NE range, linked by cill bands. Cill bands also

to 2nd floor. Large oriel in SW elevation in advanced and

crowstepped gabled bay. Much ornamental detailing,

balconies, castellations, etc throughout exterior;

corniced stacks and slate roofs. Wide terracing at south

and west. Extensive service courtyard at NW.

Interior; main entrance porch leads to wide mid-19th

century staircase with ornamental Caen stone balustrade

giving onto rib vaulted landing and corridors leading to

main 1st and 2nd floor rooms.

Dining room; re-designed by Sir Robert Lorimer with

ornate coffered moulded plaster ceiling, classical

grisaille frieze of Italian origin, light wood panelled

walls and Tudor style chimneypiece; cast-iron fire back.

Billiard room; large panelled room to accommodate two

billiard tables, reconstructed by Lorimer from 1850

library; pine panelled walls, ornate pilaster ceiling;

green marble chimneypiece with swags above attributed to

Grinling Gibbons.

Breakfast room; canted ends; simple plaster walls with

panelled dado; ornate door case with oyster walnut door;

the overdoor and the incorporating swags by Grinling

Gibbons; 17th century style plaster ceiling; all

re-designed by Lorimer.

Drawingroom; re-designed by Lorimer combining 2 smaller

rooms of Barry wing; long room lit by 5 full length

windows; ornate plaster ceiling with reticulated design,

central armorial boss and decorative frieze; decorative

carved marble chimneypiece with lugged moulded surround

set with figured green and white marble; corniced

door-cases; decorative panelled doors and window shutters

with secondary glazed inner shutters (for double

glazing); ornamental radiator casings.

Library; re-designed by Lorimer from former principal

bedroom and dressing rooms, panelled throughout and

shelved with sycamore wood; figured marbled fireplaces at

each end.

Duke's study; Lorimer panelling in larch; moulded and

lugged wood chimney-piece with figure marble surround;

small wrought iron balcony to window.

Green and gold bedroom; French style, 1921 (for Duchess

Eileen); stippled green panelled walls with gilt garlanded

and mirrored panels; white marble chimneypieces; painted

swag motif decorates ceiling.


Seat of Sutherland family. Hugh, Lord of Duffus (Moray) and grandson of Freskin de Moravia, acquired lands in Sutherland before 1211. Hugh's son William became 1st Earl of Sutherland circa 1235. Freskin line ended in 1514, title inherited by Elizabeth Gordon, sister 5th Earl (d.1514), wife Hon. Adam Gordon, younger son of 2nd Earl of Huntly. 1766 inherited by later Elizabeth Gordon (only daughter 18th Earl) who married George Granville Leveson-Gore, later 2nd Marquis of Stafford, who inherited enormous industrial wealth in West Midlands of England, and was subsequently created 1st Duke of Sutherland (d.1834). 2nd Duke initiated Sir Charles Barry additions. Dukedom passed elsewhere in 1963, but Dunrobin Castle and Sutherland estates inherited by Elizabeth, present Countess of Sutherland in her own right. Stone for 1835-50 from Brora and Braambury quarries, Sutherland. Staircase and entrance hall lined with Caen stone. Much of the interior destroyed by fire in 1915, when the castle was used as a naval hospital. It was this damage that initiated the re-designing of the interior by Sir Robert Lorimer in 1919.


IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND, i, (circa 1858) p482. Groome's ORDNANCE GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND, II, (1883) p445. Peter Savage, LORIMER AND THE EDINBURGH CRAFT DESIGNERS (1980) pp 120, 129-31, 176. DUNROBIN CASTLE (guide) 1980).

© Crown copyright, Historic Scotland. All rights reserved. Mapping information derived from Ordnance Survey digital mapping products under Licence No. 100017509 2012 . Data extracted from Scottish Ministers' Statutory List on . Listing applies equally to the whole building or structure at the address set out in bold at the top of the list entry. This includes both the exterior and the interior, whether or not they are mentioned in the 'Information Supplementary to the Statutory List'. Listed building consent is required for all internal and external works affecting the character of the building. The local planning authority is responsible for determining where listed building consent will be required and can also advise on issues of extent or "curtilage" of the listing, which may cover items remote from the main subject of the listing such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. or interior fixtures. All category C(S) listings were revised to category C on 3rd September 2012. This was a non-statutory change. All enquiries relating to proposed works to a listed building or its setting should be addressed to the local planning authority in the first instance. All other enquiries should be addressed to: Listing & Designed Landscapes Team, Historic Scotland, Room G.51, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, EDINBURGH, EH9 1SH. Tel: +44 (0)131 668 8701 / 8705. Fax: +44 (0)131 668 8765. e-mail: hs.listing@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Web: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/historicandlistedbuildings.

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Buildings are assigned to one of three categories according to their relative importance. All listed buildings receive equal legal protection, and protection applies equally to the interior and exterior of all listed buildings regardless of category.

ACategory A

Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type. (Approximately 8% of the total).

BCategory B

Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered. (Approximately 51% of the total).

C(S)Category C(S)

Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B. (Approximately 41% of the total).