Castle (“Duin Foither” or “Dun
Fother" = “Fort in the low country”) is
set on an impressive rock plateau, 49 m above the sea, surrounded
on 3 sides by the North Sea, on the east coast of Scotland,
about 3 km south of Stonehaven, 22 km south of Aberdeen.
Castle was erected by Sir William Keith on a fortified site,
a Pictish fortress, first mentioned in the 7th century as
a siege at Dunnottar (by Pictish King Bridei) and had always
been of immense strategic importance.
It is also connected to some of the most important figures
of Scottish history, such as St. Ninian, Mary Queen of Scots,
William Wallace and the Marquis of Montrose.
890 A.D. the fortress was captured by the Vikings. By this
time the castle was not built of stone but from earth and
In 1651 the Honours of Scotland, consisting of a 1,3 metres
long sword, crown and sceptre, were brought here to safe
them from Oliver Cromwell, who had already destroyed the
English crown jewels. The Honours were heroically smuggled
out and hidden at a village a few miles south of Dunnottar,
just before Cromwell's army took over the castle after an
8 month siege.
A dark chapter in the history of the castle is that of the
"Whig's Vault", a gloomy, airless
cellar, where in 1685 167 Covenators (45 women and 122 men)
were held in prison for 9 weeks with little food and no
sanitation. Those who survived the ordeal were transported
to the West Indies.