The Builders of Arbuthnott House
There has been a house on the site of the present
Arbuthnott House for 800 years but nothing remains of any building prior to the 15th
century. At that time a typical tower-house existed, but only parts of this early building
can be seen within the east wing of the present house.
This fortified keep was built by Hugh Arbuthnott in 1420.
His great-great-grandson, Robert, completed the castle between 1470 and 1500 by adding a
hall, kitchens and a courtyard with entrance gateway and battlemented containing wall. He
also built the Arbuthnott Aisle adjacent to the parish kirk about the year 1500. After
further alterations in the 16th century the drawingroom wing of the mansion house was
probably erected as the first purely domestic residence by Sir Robert Arbuthnott (father
of the 1st Viscount) in the early 17th century and was later embellished by the 2nd
Viscount who put in the plaster ceilings and laid out the gardens in the period 1660-1670.
The present Georgian front of the house and the north wing were built by the 5th Viscount
in 1754 and finally the front door and main staircase was added to this portion in 1820
when the existing drive and bridge were all constructed by the 8th Viscount. This front
door stands in the opening that originally led the visitor through a pend under the first
floor and into the castle courtyard at the back. At that time the front door of the house
was in the old 15th century wing where it can still be seen. With the 18th and 19th
century additions most traces of the old courtyard type castle had been erased and little
evidence is left of it today. Nevertheless it is easy to see from what remains how the
history of the family, the house and the Scottish rural scene has developed by the
succesive periods of domestic building on this site.