Bishops Palace Fetternear

(Old) House of Fetternear, from c.1566. The massive footings of the palace, built by Bishop Ramsay of Aberdeen in 1226 and extended by Bishop Kyninmond, 1330, are still visible in front of the old house. The lands remained with the bishops until 1550 when a lease, which rapidly became a gift, was granted to John Leslie, eighth Baron Balquhain. They retain a timeless feel. Oldest part is three-storey tower with circular south-west angle tower and vaulted ground floor.

Extraordinarily elongated mansion tacked on by Count Patrick Leslie, 1691-3: originally a symmetrical three-storey, six-window house with circular angle towers (that on east belonging to the original house). A one-window wing was also added on the west to balance the original tower. For sheer scale one must look to Fetteresso (near Stonehaven) for

comparison. Important 1693 armorial panel over central door incorporating Leslie’s coronet of a Count of the Holy Roman Empire, above which is stone carved with sacred monograms (IHS, MRA), part of cult of Holy Name indicating Leslie’s adherence to the Counter- Reformation.

The forecourt, with stabling, offices and side wings, was burnt down in 1745 when factor, to whom the estate had been leased, was attempting to strip it bare. Gothicised by Massie in early 19th century by raising the towers and adding corbelling and a heavy, crenellated parapet. A two-storey wing with bow was added in 1818 and a two-storey cross

wing in 1850. Burnt out 1919).

Taken from “Aberdeenshire: Donside and Strathbogie – An Illustrated Architectural Guide”, by Ian Shepherd, 2006. Published by the Rutland Press

More Information

CANMORE National Record of Historic Environment

Aerial video taken by Laura Downie October 2020