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Updated 09/27/2019

 


Lady Carmichael of Castlecraig

Castle Craig, the historic ruins of a towerhouse and its enclosure on the Cromarty Firth, is the oldest remaining castle on the north shore of the Black Isle. Its position on a cliff-top spur overlooking the Firth provides commanding views of the mountains of Ross-shire and surrounding farm lands. Originally known as Craighouse, it marked the western boundary of the Sheriffdom of Cromarty when the Urquharts of Cromarty held the Sheriffdom during the late Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.

Castle Craig came into Urquhart possession in 1561 when the Bishop of Ross granted ownership of the lands of Craig, with its towerhouse, to Thomas Urquhart, second son of Alexander Urquhart of Cromarty (1507 1564), 8th Chief of Clan Urquhart. After Thomas Urquhart of Craighouse died in 1571, ownership passed to his younger brothers, the last of whom was John Urquhart, Tutor of Cromarty. The Tutor's ownership of the Castle was confirmed in a royal charter of 1595, shortly after he became guardian to his great-nephew, Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty (1586 - 1642), 11th Chief of Clan Urquhart. The 11th Urquhart Chief was father of the renowned Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty (1611 1660), 12th Chief of Clan Urquhart -- ardent Royalist, author and translator of Rabelais.

Following the Tutor of Cromarty's death in 1631, Castle Craig passed to a succession of Urquhart lairds in the 17th and early 18th Centuries. It eventually came into possession of the Shaw-Mackenzie owners of Newhall, the adjoining Black Isle estate originally established by the Urquharts. In 1960, Major C. J. Shaw-Mackenzie of Newhall, who by this time had been recognized as Shaw of Tordarroch, Chief of Clan Shaw, gifted Castle Craig to Wilkins Fisk Urquhart, 26th Chief of Clan Urquhart. Recently, the Black Isle Charitable Corporation for Castle Craig's Preservation and Restoration was formed to promote interest in the Castle and raise funds for its preservation and Restoration, thereby preserving this important Black Isle historic landmark for future generations.