Home to Lord Southesk, Kinnaird Castle (the word "Kinnaird" comes from the Gaelic "Ceann-airde", meaning "the head of the hill-rise") was burned to the ground in the year 1100 by the Duke of Montrose (His request for the hand of the Lady of the castle was denied). Fire once again consumed the castle in the early 19th century, leading to extensive rebuilding during the mid-1800's. The beginning of the 20th century was greeted with yet another fire which destroyed the formal gardens and one wing.
In 1405 Duthac Carnegie married Mariota, the Lady of Kinnaird, who owned the castle. He soon expanded into the neighboring lands and his titles and lands were elevated into a barony by King James V. In return, Carnegie was charged one silver penny per year and tasked with keeping the King's ale cellars in Angus.
In 1616, Sir David Carnegie, 8th of Kinnaird, was made Lord Carnegie of Kinnaird. In 1633 he was created Earl of Southesk. The family has always maintained close ties to the British throne in London, and British Kings often stayed at Kinnaird. In 1617 King James VI visited the Earl as later did Charles I and Charles II (The second Earl, James, was imprisoned by Cromwell for his Royalist beliefs. He was known as the "Black Earl" because he was allegedly a warlock).
The castle was also visited by would-be kings. In 1715, as Scotland tried to break away from England, the Old Stuart Pretender spent some time at the castle. It was a costly visit, and as a result of this, and of the Earl's adherence to the Stuart cause during the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion, his title and estate were forfeited; they were, however, returned in 1764.
The existing castle is surrounded by several thousand walled acres of woodlands, trout farms and arable land. Additionally, the Southesk family raises deer for export to Europe. The castle boasts a magnificent collection of art, including works by Raphael, Murillo, Jameson, Raeburn, Durer, VanDyck, Landseer and Lucas Cranach plus dozens of watercolor sketches by a young Queen Victoria.
This photograph won the Best of Show at the 1992 Annual Scottish Invitational Art Show, and has won numerous other awards in the United States. In 1993 it was featured on the cover of ArtCalendar.