Five 'Scottish' castles around the world

For those who left Scotland to make their fortune, nothing said they had made it more than building a castle just like those found at home.

Larnach Castle, Dunedin, New Zealand. PIC: Contributed.
Larnach Castle, Dunedin, New Zealand. PIC: Contributed.

Here we look at five Scottish-style castles around the world, from expressions of wealth forged in the New World to a granite pile in China and a Harry Potter-style hideaway that was built on a father’s promise over 30 years.

Bannerman’s Castle, Pollepel Island, New York

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This crumbling pile on a private island in the Hudson River is a reminder of the success of Francis Bannerman from Dundee, who left Scotland for Brooklyn when just three-years-old.

Bannerman's Castle, Pollepel Island, New York State. PIC Creartive Commpnons/Flickr

Bannerman, who arrived in the United States in 1854 when just three-years old, was to become a wealthy trader in surplus military ammunition and artillery.

He spotted Pollepel Island while out canoeing on the Hudson and bought it from the Taft family in 1900.

Bannerman, as part of the purchase deal, had to promise in writing that the island would not revert to its past as a haven for illegal alcohol and prostitution.

The castle was built as a series of fortified warehouses to store his stock after he procured a particularly large consignment of weaponry following the Spanish Civil War.

Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, British Columbia, former home of Ayrshire coal trader Robert Dunsmuir. PIC: Wikimedia.

Bannerman led the design of the castle with particular attention paid to the

family shields and sigils.

He died in 1918 with the properties slowly falling into ruin since then. The Bannerman Castle Trust is fundraising to secure the buildings. The family believe they should be “preserved as proof of people’s and imagination” in America during that time.

Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, British Columbia

Highlands Castle, Bolton Landin, New York State, is for sale for around £10.4m. PIC: Contributed.

Craigdarroch has been hailed as the ultimate “bonanza castle” - the type of oversized mansion built by 19th and early 20th industrialists to illustrate their spiralling wealth.

Ayrshire-born miner Robert Dunsmuir created Craigdarroch after amassing his fortune from Vancouver Island coal. He left Scotland in 1850 to take up a position with the Hudson Bay company.

Dunsmuir and his architect died before Craigdarroch was finished but his family ensured no expense was spared in executing their vision of Victorian opulence. Italian marble, Californian terracotta and British Columbia sandstone were used to flamboyant effect.

Nothing like Craigdarroch had been seen in Victoria before and the building, which was used as a school and is now a museum after being sold by the family, remains a prominent landmark on the west side of the city.

Bannerman's Castle, Pollepel Island, New York State. PIC Creartive Commpnons/Flickr

Treaty Port Castle and Vineyard, Shandong, China

Businessman Chris Raffles built the faux-Scottish castle in Shandong province to compliment his new vineyard which the investment banker built to take advantage of the growing Chinese market for fine wine.

Designed by Scottish architect Ian Begg, the castle is built using local granite although Raffles has imported several period pieces to give it a noble look.

They include a 17th Century collection of paintings and an AGA cooker, which was installed by an engineer who travelled from New Zealand. Dinner is served in the Great Hall.

‘There were moments when I thought it wasn’t worth it but in the end determination brings its own rewards,” said Yorkshireman Raffles.

Larnach Castle, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, British Columbia, former home of Ayrshire coal trader Robert Dunsmuir. PIC: Wikimedia.

New Zealand’s only castle was built in 1871 by William Larnach, a merchant baron and politician, whose father hailed from Auchengill in Caithness.

The pile was created for Larnach’s first wife, Eliza, with the project taking 200 workmen more than three years to build the castle shell. A team of master European craftsmen spent a further 12 years embellishing the interior.

The fine property belied a tragic demise for Larnach, whose business dealings left him insolvent and insular. He died in 1898 in his parliamentary office, where he shot himself.

The castle is still privately owned and cared for by the Barker family who purchased it in 1967.

Highlands Castle, Bolton Landing, New York State

This is truly the stuff of fairy tales with businessman John Lavender building this impressive pile after promising his son that one day “he would live in a castle.”

The pledge was made as Mr Lavender lived in a flat with five other men following his divorce.

For 30 years, Mr Lavender stuck to his word and constructed a house that he later hand-clad in stone.

Sitting on a mountain top overlooking Lake George and Adirondack Mountains the house has since hosted the weddings of both father and son.

It is now on the market for the equivalent of around £10.4m.

Highlands Castle, Bolton Landin, New York State, is for sale for around £10.4m. PIC: Contributed.