Tolquhon Castle is located in Aberdeenshire, north-east Scotland. It lies about 1.5 miles north-west of Pitmedden, and 2 miles south of Tarves. The castle was built by William Forbes, 7th Laird of Tolquhon, between 1584 and 1589 as an extension to the earlier tower house known as Preston's Tower. Although ruined, the castle has been described as "the most characteristic château of the Scots Renaissance". It is in the care of Historic Scotland and is open to the public.
Preston's Tower was constructed in the early 15th century, either by Sir Henry Preston or by his son-in-law Sir William Forbes, who inherited part of the Preston lands in 1420, following Sir Henry's death. His descendant William Forbes, 7th Laird of Tolquhon , began work on a new castle in 1584, retaining the Preston Tower but adding new, more comfortable accommodation. He also improved the gardens and parkland around the house. King James VI was entertained at Tolquhon in 1589. The new buildings were arranged around a courtyard, and included an elaborate gatehouse, and a first-floor gallery. An inscription on the gatehouse records that "AL THIS WARKE EXCEP THE AULD TOWR WAS BEGUN BE WILLIAM FORBES 15 APRIL 1584 AND ENDIT BE HIM 20 OCTOBER 1589". The home of a "Renaissance man", Tolquhon was designed for show rather than defence, and was the work of the mason-architect Thomas Leper or Leiper. Leper's distinctive triple shot-holes flank the main entrance, and are also found at nearby Arnage Castle and Dean Castle in Ayrshire. Also unusual is the stone tilework in the main hall.
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