There has been a castle at Auchterhouse since at least the 13th century. The land was owned by the Ramsay family, who were hereditary Sheriffs of Angus from the mid 13th century. When Edward I invaded Scotland in 1296 one of the names on the list of the oath of allegiance was “Thomas de Ramsay, Baron of the lands of Ochterhouse”. Later Sir John Ramsay would take up arms with William Wallace against Edward.
Seven years later on the 20th of July 1303 Edward I of England spent the night at the Castle of Auchterhouse during his invasion of Scotland. It is said that Wallace also spent time at Auchterhouse, and it is in honour of this that part of the building became known as Wallace’s Tower.
The castle is thought to have originally been built in the courtyard style on a large scale, with towers at each of the four corners. Wallace’s Tower is the remains of one of these towers, with walls around 3 metres thick. All that is now left is the vaulted ground floor, standing to a height of around 3.7 metres on the north, east and west sides, but less on the south. Within the tower is a well.
At some point in history Auchterhouse Castle came to be in the possession of the Erskine family, the Earls of Buchan. James Erskine, the 7th Earl of Buchan, Lord Auchterhouse, was most probably responsible for building the 17th century tower house that forms the main part of the building as it is today. The new structure is thought to incorporate the keep of the older castle.
In recent years Auchterhouse Castle was run as a hotel under the name The Old Mansion House Hotel, but it has now been converted back to a private residence.
Alternative names for Auchterhouse Castle
Auchterhouse Mansion, Castle of Auchterhouse, Ochterhouse, Wallace Tower, Wallace's Tower