Dunrobin Castle


The story of Dunrobin Castle is a story of earls and dukes that dates back to the 14th century.  Located in the Highlands of Scotland in what is now Sutherland, the land was granted by King Malcolm I to a Flemish knight named Hugh de Moravia. In 1235, his son William was made 1st Earl of Sutherland.

The Sutherlands were thus one of just seven medieval earldoms of Scotland and part of the ruling elite of the country, intermarrying with many of the other important families of the time. On Nov 19, 1614, Jean Gordon-Sutherland was born within the walls of the castle keep. She was the 10th great-grandmother of my niece’s husband.

The castle, which began as a fortified square structure with walls six feet thick, evolved over the years. Its largest redesign took place in the 1800s when it was remodeled by architect Sir Charles Barry who transformed the fort to a house with a Scottish Balmoral style and French influences which tripled its size. It remains privately owned and used as a family residence although sections of the castle are now opened to the public and available to tour.

The motto of Clan Sutherland is “Sans Peur,” which is French for “Without Fear.” It appears on the Countess’s Coat of Arms and the Clan Crest.

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