THE last fortified house to be built in Scotland is on the market for £650,000 – with the optional extra of a baronetcy.
Leslie Castle was built in the 17th Century and its metre-thick granite walls, towers and turrets reflect the violent nature of the times.
The five-storey, seven-bedroom property in Aberdeenshire is built on land used for various fortresses for almost 1,000 years.
Leslie Castle was rebuilt in the 1980s and boasts a vaulted kitchen, great hall, a study area known as the Baron’s Room, and a spiral staircase to the battlements overlooking the two acres of land including in the sale.
The title Baron of Leslie originates from 1069 when the land was granted by King Malcolm III to Lord Leslie, a Hungarian nobleman who arrived with the future Queen Margaret of Scotland.
Sellers Strutt & Parker say the baronetcy is available for sale along with the property for an undisclosed additional fee.
According to historian Sir Tom Devine in his book The Scottish Nation: A Modern History, Leslie Castle is “the last fortified house in Scotland”.
The castle, near the village of Insch, was built in around 1661 and is described by the sellers as : “A fairy tale castle with turrets and tower, set in the heart of Aberdeenshire.”
They add: “This is a five storey tower house built of one metre thick granite walls under a slate roof.
“Leslie was carefully restored to retain the character and architectural integrity of the original structure, including the very rare lantern tower.
“Connecting all the floors, this square stair tower has an unusual lantern void to light the stairs.
“The sellers have inherited a barony title, Baron of Leslie (granted in 2004), with the property.
“This could be included in the sale at a price in addition. The coat of arms includes three ears of corn, a turnip, a carp, a falcon and three buckles, which has historic significance.”
Strutt & Parker added in the brochure : “Within the garden is a large cobbled area which no doubt has an interesting historical past, probably linked to the motte, although its use is unclear.
“The fifth floor is the top of the tower with a triple aspect and distant commanding views over the surrounding countryside. There is also a spiral stair up to the battlements and flagpole.”
The history behind the castle and its site dates back to around 1069 and the progenitor of the Clan Leslie, Lord Lesse – whose family name was Bartholomew.
Bartholomew was a Hungarian noble who arrived in Scotland as an advisor and assistant of the future Queen Margaret, who was later made a Saint.
Queeen Margret married King Malcom III, with Bartholomew being given the high post of Chamberlain.
According to the brochure: “Whilst Queen Margaret was riding pillion with Bartholomew the horse stumbled and the queen asked if the buckle around his waist would hold.
“It did, but for the future Bartholomew added two more buckles to his riding belt and to the arms of Leslie; the Leslie motto became ‘Grip Fast’.”
He subsequently married Malcolm’s sister, Princess Beatrix, in 1070.