The estate agent Savills noted that the site at Towie had been the seat of the Barclay clan since 1136. Towie Barclay Castle itself dates from the 16th century.

Savills said: “This beautiful fortified tower house had fallen, in the 1950s, into a state of serious… neglect. Renovation began in the 1970s with a comprehensive, award-winning restoration program later carried out by the current owners, the Ellington family.”

He added: “Internationally recognized as one of the best restorations of domestic buildings that have been carried out in Scotland this century, the transformation of Towie Barclay Castle is a feat of dedication and craftsmanship.”

Noting that the castle is an L-shaped tower house, Savills stated, “Although it is of incredible historical stature, it has been a much-loved and cherished family home for over 50 years.”

Historical details include the Barclay family coat of arms, a shot hole to defend the castle against attack, and small spy holes or “laird’s lugs” inside the stairwell for listening in on hallway conversations.

Other highlights include 16th-century wooden beams and a “16th-century painted Italian panel of the Last Supper.”

The Great Hall has a vaulted ceiling and a minstrels’ gallery, which Savills claimed had been “a secret chapel” at the time of the Reformation.

The estate agent said: “While the property reflects centuries of history, the castle is also highly functional as a comfortable permanent residence…

“The Great Hall on the first floor is an extraordinary piece of history, but it also doubles as a fabulous entertainment room as does the adjacent drawing room. Located on the second floor is the library as the ultimate peaceful retreat, while the top floor offers incredible views of the surrounding countryside. There are six bedrooms in total and two bathrooms.”

Included in the sale is Gardener’s Cottage, a three-bedroom property that Savills says “could be used for multi-generational living or to generate vacation rental income, as has been the case in the past.” The outbuildings include an old carriage house, a stable and a hayloft.

The castle grounds extend to around 2.7 acres and include a courtyard along with a formal garden with pink gravel paths, shaped lawns and flower beds and cultivated borders.

Fiona Gormley, of Savills, said: “The sale of Towie Barclay Castle is without doubt one of the most exciting launches to the Aberdeenshire market this year and represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to purchase a historic home.

“This remarkable example of restoration work is testament to the dedication of the sellers and will make an incredible acquisition for the next custodian.”

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