William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II, all graced the Castle with their presence. Most famously though, it was at Dunnottar Castle that a small garrison held out against the might of Cromwell’s army for eight months and saved the Scottish Crown Jewels, the ‘Honours of Scotland’, from destruction. Crown, sceptre and sword now take pride of place in Edinburgh Castle.
A darker chapter in the history of Dunnottar is that of the ‘Whig’s Vault’. The gruesome story of the imprisonment in 1685 of a group of Covenanters who refused to acknowledge the King’s supremacy in spiritual matters.
The Castle was the home of the Earls Marischal once one of the most powerful families in the land. The last Earl was convicted of treason for his part in the Jacobite rising of 1715, and as a result his estates, including Dunnottar, were seized by the government.
The buildings were thereafter much neglected until 1925 when the 1st Viscountess Cowdray embarked on a systematic repair of the Castle. The Castle was officially made open to visitors thereafter.