The Drummond family, who hailed from the Drymen area in Stirlingshire, were granted lands in Perthshire by Robert the Bruce as a reward for the support of Sir Malcolm Drummond, the 10th Thane of Lennox, at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
In 1491 James IV issued a royal warrant giving Sir John Drummond permission to build a castle on his land. Drummond Castle was built on a rocky outcrop (part of the Gask Ridge) and took the form of a tall, square keep.
Originally it would have been surrounded by a curtain wall, and while there is a massive wall to the north of the castle today, it is unclear to what period it dates.
Around 1630 James Drummond, the 4th Lord Drummond and the 1st Earl of Perth, added a three storey gatehouse to the south side of the keep, stretching to the edge of the rocky ridge and so controlling access to the courtyard beyond. Around the same time a range of ancillary buildings were added to the north east of the tower.
The architect was John Mylne, King Charles’ own Master Mason from Perth. At this time the formal gardens were laid out to the south of the rocky outcrop, and at their centre is a sundial designed by Mylne which tells the time in many of Europe’s capital cities.
In 1653 the castle was damaged during a siege by Cromwell, but it was restored after the English troops left. In the 1690s James Drummond, the 4th Earl of Perth, built a mansion house to the east of the castle, possibly on the site of the original building’s curtain wall.
But following the Drummonds’ support of the Jacobite cause in 1715 and 1745-46, they lost their estates, and while the Duke of Perth followed Bonnie Prince Charlie into exile on the Continent, the Duchess of Perth was imprisoned at Drummond Castle until her death in 1773.
In 1784 the Drummond were given back their estates, and set about modernising the mansion house, then in 1822 the old keep was restored to its former glory.
Drummond Castle is now the seat of Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, the 28th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby, a Willoughby having married a daughter of James Drummond, the 11th Earl of Perth, in the early 19th century. The castle is private, but the magnificent gardens are open to the public in summer.