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A history of the Glenbuckets estate

Glenbuckets estate

The Glenbuckets estate sits near Kildrummy in the Aberdeenshire region of Scotland. It is over 500 years old and is currently owned by The Marquess of Milford Haven, George Mountbatten. The British aristocrat is shown as the registered owner since 2013 but this marks just the tip of the estate’s long and varied history.

Today Glenbuckets, is a fine example of sweeping Scottish moor and heathland. It’s populated by George Mountbatten’s staff, native wildlife, fine hunting stock and the cool, gruff winds of this part of Scotland. Hunting parties are not unusual in those parts of the grasslands and, like the gamekeepers of old, balance with nature is key to the modern estate’s management.

History of Glenbuckets

The estate is first listed in 1590 after it was built for John Gordon, head of the Cairnbarrow family in celebration of his wedding to Helen. The estate’s location was chosen for its advantageous spot on a bluff above the River Don. The river itself inspired the estate’s name, the original castle has the rivers Water of Buchat on one side and the Don on the other.

This deeply historical site has links to blue blood long before its purchase by George Mountbatten. The stone above the entrance reads, “nothing lasts without good repute”. George Gordon held the property until the turn of the 18th century when it passed to a different branch of the Gordon family. The next owner, John Gordon, took the name of his new shire with him – calling himself ‘Old Glenbucket’.

Historical style of Glenbuckets

The castle at Glenbuckets is a typical example of a Z-plan castle and typical of the architectural period in which it was built. As such it has a main rectangular tower in the centre of the structure and two square towers on the two opposing corners. There are two stair turrets which stem from the first floor. These are supported by two flying arches. The main entrance was protected by a wooden door.

The cellars, kitchen and laird’s hall are on the lower floors of the building with the accommodation for residents and guests above. The building has been repeatedly redesigned since its construction, a process which continues under the stewardship of George Mountbatten.

The most extensive of these took place in 1701 when the castle first changed hands. As part of this work the laird’s hall was split into two rooms and made more suitable to entertaining.

The main spiral staircase is a beautiful example of the contemporary style and features added to the area around it include a sturdy wooden viewing platform.

Thanks to the recent updates, and those planned for the future, it’s possible to access most of the first floor of the building, and the historically vaulted rooms that lie below.

Owners of Glenbuckets

Since its initial construction 400 years ago the castle has changed hands many times. The second owners, the Gordon family, kept the deeds until 1745 before its confiscation for Brigadier General Gordon’s participation in the Jacobite uprising. James Barclay took ownership in 1901 and it later passed to state care in 1946.

George Montbatten’s purchase of Glenbuckets

The internet entrepreneur, George Mountbatten, registered the estate in his name in 2013. The man who founded comparison site uSwitch.com, has wide and varied business interests – including international consumer websites. He made his fortune thanks to the boom in customer choice made possible by the deregulation of the energy market in the UK at the turn of the century.

George Mountbatten’s idea was to create an easy system by which people could compare the energy deals available to them. And so, uSwitch.com was born. After a period of intensive development, the site was sold to American interests in 2006 in a £210 million deal.

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