Aberuchill Castle consists of a late 16th century tower house which has been extended over the centuries to form a country mansion.
The lands of Aberuchill, originally MacGregor country, were granted to Colin Campbell, second son of Sir John Campbell of Lawers, in 1596, with a charter allowing him to build a castle.
He built an L-plan tower house, three storeys plus an attic in height, which was completed in 1602. The main block of accommodation in the castle runs west to east, with a smaller wing extending to the north from the eastern end of the main block, and a staircase in the re-entrant angle. The walls are around 1.2m thick. A re-sited pediment on a later dormer window on the west of the tower is carved with the date 1602.
Colin Campbell died in 1618, and was succeeded by his son James Campbell, following whose death in 1640 the estate passed to his son Colin, later Sir Colin Campbell, 1st Baronet of Aberuchill. I have seen a reference to the estate being acquired by Sir James Drummond in 1642, however entries in the Records of the Parliament of Scotland continue to describe Sir Colin Campbell as “of Aberuchill” until his death in 1704.
Sir Colin became a Senator of the College of Justice in 1689 under the title Lord Aberuchill. He married twice and had nine children, and one of his sons, James, born in 1672 at Aberuchill, would succeed his father as Sir James Campbell, 2nd Baronet of Aberuchill.
Sir James was predeceased by his son Colin in 1738, so following Sir James’ death in 1754 the estate passed to Colin’s son, also James, who became Sir James Campbell 3rd Baronet of Aberuchill. In 1772 this Sir James sold Aberuchill to James Drummond of Strageath, and moved to another Campbell property, Kilbryde Castle.
The Drummonds extended Aberuchill to the east early in the 19th century with the addition of a two storey Gothic-style wing, and remodelled the interiors. In 1858 the Drummonds sold Aberuchill to Sir David Dundas of Dunira, who is thought to have developed the gardens, planting boundary hedges and trees in the parkland.
In 1864 Dundas sold the estate to Sir George Dewhurst, a Lancashire cotton magnate, who set about extensive developments between 1869 and 1874, including some work possibly by David Bryce. A two storey west wing was added to restore the balance to the castle with the east wing, and more work was done in laying out the ornamental gardens.
On the night of the 3rd or 4th of February 1914 Aberuchill was one of three properties in the Comrie area targeted by suffragettes (the others being the House of Ross and Allt-an-Fhionn at St Fillans). A fire was started in an arson attack and was discovered in a drawing room by six maids who had been asleep in the castle. Several sources differ on the extent of the damage. All seem to agree that numerous paintings, antiques and pieces of furniture were destroyed but some state that the castle was gutted while others say that the fire was quickly extinguished, the thick walls of the castle seemingly preventing the fire from spreading.
In the 1980s the descendants of Dewhurst sold Aberuchill to an American owner involved in the oil industry. In 1994 the castle suffered fire damage once again but was repaired and restored by Thomas Robinson Architects using plans that had fortuitously been drawn up some time previously.
Aberuchill was bought by the Russian steel tycoon Vladimir Lisin for £6.8 million in 2005.
Alternative names for Aberuchill Castle
Aberuchill House; Abruchill House; Abruchill Castle; Abyr rucchill; Abyr-rucchill