The place-name Drum is derived from Gaelic word druim, or 'ridge'.  Alexander III probably built Drum Castle in 1280 AD. Today its keep is one of the oldest towers in Scotland. The original tower, standing seventy feet with walls twelve feet thick, is believed to have been built by Richard Cementarius, the first provost of Aberdeen, during the Reign of Alexander III.

Drum CastleDuring his campaign against the English, Robert De Bruis often received refuge from the Irvines of Bonshaw. William De Irwyn was his armour bearer. For his service, William was awarded the Royal Oaks in Aberdeenshire and Drum castle in 1323. Previously the land belonged to John Comyn.  The castle remained in Irvine possession for the following 650 years.

The stone mansion and Jacobean house surrounding the original tower were built during the reign of Alexander, the 9th Laird of Drum and completed in 1619. Drum Castle was attacked and plundered three times during the Covenanting Rebellion when the royalist Irvines supported Charles I in a region where most Scottish families were Covenanters. Drum Castle had been besieged and captures on two occasions and garrisoned four times. The Irvine family continued to be loyal to the Stuart royalty. In 1644 soldiers destroyed the gardens at Drum.

Drum Castle - Irvine Room1876 the courtyard was restored, and an arched entrance was added. Within the old walled garden is a fine collection of Historic Roses.

In 1975, the 24th Laird of Drum, Henry Quentin Forbes Irvine, gave Drum Castle to the National Trust for Scotland as part of his will.

Written by Eric Irvine © 2001.

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