Fairburn Tower, Muir of Ord

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Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved. © Copyright and database right 2019.

General Details and Location

Name of Building
Fairburn Tower
Other Name(s)
Fairburn Castle
Muir of Ord
Planning Authority
Divisional Area
Reference No
Listing Category
OS Grid Ref
NH 46952 52356
Location Type
HS Reference No


4 storeys and attic; harl pointed rubble; roofless. Later 17th century
stair tower added to front elevation masking original 1st floor entrance, with simple off-centre doorway in plain moulded surround. Gun-loops in ground floor; remains of corbelled bartizans at NE and SW angles; crowstepped gables; corniced apex stack to stair tower. Single storey, small kitchen extension (also roofless) with remains of large fireplace, added to west elevation. Blocked oven (or aumbry) within fireplace

Commanding position on flat hilltop overlooking Strathconon and
the Orri valley. A former stronghold of the Mackenzies. (Historic Scotland)
Building Dates
Mid 16th century ?

Category of Risk and Development History

Category of Risk
Exemptions to State of Risk
Field Visits
February 1997, July 1997, April 2003, 04/09/2008, 22/6/2012, 19/6/2013
Development History
February 1997: External inspection reveals the tower to be a roofless ruin, intact to the wallhead. February 1998: The owner reports that he would like to see the tower restored, although funds are not currently available. As it stands within the middle of the estate, it would not be available for outright purchase but may be available on long-term lease. A potential restoring leaseholder secured Planning Permission and Historic Scotland grant aid, but was unable to secure the necessary private finance. April 2003: The owner reports that the Estate is planning to restore the tower over a number of years. 13 July 2003: The Mail on Sunday reports that cracking has developing and Highland Council may serve a Repairs Notice. 14 July 2003: The Aberdeen Press and Journal and the London News repeat the story. February 2005: The Fairburn Estate reports that it intends to restore the tower in the next 5 years, and hopes to start works within the next 2 years. December 2006: LPA report that in response to recent letter from them to the estate, the owner reports that it is still their intention to restore the tower pending suitable funds.
September 2008: External inspection finds much of the render is missing from the Tower, the exposed masonry displays loss of pointing and structural cracks. Some of the door and window openings have broken or cracked lintels. The adjoing former kitchen range is ruinous.
October 2008: Local planners report formal restoration plans have not yet been lodged with Highland Council.
February 2010: Fairburn Tower is included on Historic Scotland‘s Castle Register.
22 June 2012: External inspection finds no significant change from the previous site visit. The estate aims to restore the building in the future.
19 June 2013: External inspection finds grass growth is evident to wallheads, but otherwise no significant change from the previous site visit.
28 January 2019: A member of the public advises The Landmark Trust is currently fund-raising towards the restoration and conversion of the property as a four-person holiday let.
20 February 2019: Listed Building Consent for restoration of the property and conversion to form a holiday letting is being sought ref: 19/00595/LBC.
6 June 2019: Listed Building Consent granted subject to conditions (ref: 19/00595/LBC).
11 October 2019: The Financial Times website reports on the Landmark Trust's nearly £2m plan to restore the tower as a holiday let for four people.

Guides to Development

Conservation Area
Planning Authority Contact
PAC Telephone Number


Current Availability
Not Available
Appointed Agents
Occupancy Type
Present/Former Uses
Building Uses Information:
Present Use 1: N/A Former Use 1: Castle
Present Use 2: N/A Former Use 2: N/A
Name of Owners
Type of Ownership

Information Services

Additional Contacts/Information Source
Historic Scotland Castle Conservation Register: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/index/heritage/scottishcastleinitiative/castleconservationregistersearch.htm
Baldwin (1986), pp116-118; Beaton (1992), p43; Close-Brooks (1995), p101; Gifford (1992), p412; MacGibbon and Ross (1887-), vol. III, pp462-465; Tranter (1962-1970), vol. V, pp156-157.
Castles, Palaces and Fortified Houses
Original Entry Date
Date of Last Edit