Listed status of Dracula's castle approved in Scotland

The listing of a 16th century ruined, granite castle on the Aberdeenshire coast has been upheld, despite the loss of its roof, floors and interior, due to its age and rarity, prominent setting and historical associations with Bram Stoker, the author of "Dracula".

A key factor in the case was Historic Environment Scotland’s policy statement on listed buildings which stated in order to be listed the condition of the building or implications for its future use or financial issues were not relevant matters in the consideration. HSE had listed the castle in April 2018, category B, as of national importance but with alterations.

The reporter sided with HES against the appellant in the case. He agreed that as the original tower and courtyard from the late 16th century castle had been retained, and that the classically styled courtyard gallery built in brick around the courtyard, perhaps in 1664, had no parallels in Scotland at the time, this contributed to the building's age and rarity. He also felt the clifftop setting of the castle made an important contribution to its special interest. Finally, the castle’s literary connections were determinative as there was evidence that Bram Stoker wrote part of his internationally famous novel ‘Dracula’ when visiting the area in 1896. It was believed that the castle in this appeal was the inspiration for Dracula’s own castle, which bore some resemblance, including the location on the top of steep cliffs and a reference to a small octagonal room in the castle. 

Reporter: Timothy Brian; Written representations

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