The Castle Floorplan

This image, taken from an 1889 guide to great British houses, displays the ground-floor floorplan of Cawdor Castle in the Scottish Highlands. This is the place that provided the inspiration for the fictitious Darnalay Castle. 

Care for a tour?

This large room was originally the castle's medieval great hall. Sometime in the Victorian age, it was converted to a formal drawing room, as shows in this photograph, from 1890:

The second floor, above this room, and the rest of the outer castle (above the morning room and dining room, for example) would have held bedrooms and servant's quarters.


The heart of the castle (the room marked DUNGEON on the floorplan), is the tower house, the original, four-story fortification that was built in the fifteenth century. This is where the "pit prison" is located, accessed only by a trap door in the second floor. The pit was built to be a place where the laird could securely entrap his enemies, and terrorize them in the dark and isolation until they confessed (or whatever else he wanted them to do). 

In modern times, the family living in the castle converted the second floor of the tower (above the dungeon) to a sitting room. This is the space that I imagined as the library at Darnalay. 

One question that puzzled me at first was the kitchen. Where is it? There's several pantries and a larder on the floorplan, but the kitchen itself is absent. That's because (like almost all kitchens of that period), it's sunken, and not on the ground floor. A modern kitchen has since been added to the castle, but the old kitchen has been preserved for visitors to see: 

The drawbridge at Cawdor is typical for a structure of it's kind. However, this nineteenth century rendering served as inspiration, especially for the first time the castle appears on page - as Percy is approaching through the fog in Roses in Red Wax. It's so wonderfully, creepily Gothic!

Not shown in the floorplan, but still quite important to my stories is the stream, or burn that runs behind Cawdor Castle. Probably, it once fed the moat. This is where Jane and Percy flee into the night in Roses in Red Wax. It's the same stream Jane is walking along at the end of that book. (if you've read the book, you know the scenes. If not, I won't give anything more away!) 

Again, I gained inspiration for this space through nineteenth century art, particularly this 1839 depiction.