Cluny Castle MSS

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 231 MS 3600
  • Dates of Creation
      c 1880 - c 1930
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      46 banker's boxes, 35 metres of wrapped volumes, 37 tyvek bags of plans  Many of the records were affected by dampness when in storage at Cluny Castle, and as a result are in an extremely fragile state. Some records are presently unfit for production. Many of the records were affected by dampness when in storage at Cluny Castle, and as a result are in an extremely fragile state. Some records are presently unfit for production.

Scope and Content

This collection relates to the management of the various estates belonging to the Gordons of Cluny in the period c 1880 - c 1930. It contains substantial and informative series of records for the estates of Cluny, Slains, Midmar, Kebbaty, Buckie, and Kinnernie, all Aberdeenshire, and the Long Island estate of Barra, South Uist and Benbecula, which will be of interest to anyone engaged in the rural, agricultural, social or architectural history of these areas. The papers relating to the Long Island estate are of particular interest, as they date from a time of endemic discontent amongst the crofters there, and include details of the resulting emigration (mainly to Canada) and social unrest.

Administrative / Biographical History

Cluny Castle, Aberdeenshire, was the historic seat of the Gordons of Cluny from the eighteenth century, passing through marriage to the Linzee-Gordons, in whose hands it remains today. The family owned several other estates in the North-East, including Slains, Midmar, Kebbaty, Buckie, and Kinnernie; as well as property in the Scottish Highlands, most notably the Long Island estate of Lady Emily Gordon-Cathcart, spanning the islands of Barra, South Uist and Benbecula.

For further details see John Malcolm Bulloch The Gordons of Cluny from the Early Years of the Eighteenth Century down to the Present Time (Buckie, 1911); and Alexander Macpherson, Gleanings from the Charter Chest at Cluny, 4 vols (Inverness: 1899 - 1901).


None observed - listing in progress

Access Information

Open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet

Acquisition Information

Deposited in the University in June 1998, by the Linzee Gordon family of Cluny

Other Finding Aids

The records have not been fully listed, but every effort will be made to accommodate the interests of bona-fide researchers. The NRA(S) list which was prepared in 1974 serves as an interim finding aid, and can be consulted in the reading room, or at the National Register of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S) survey list 1162). Some items described on the list have not been deposited at the University, most notably certain records relating to emigration. Researchers are advised to contact Reading Room staff for further details (e-mail: See also, Existence/ Location of Copies, below, for further details regarding this point.

Very brief collection level description available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online

Alternative Form Available

Microfilm copies of some items listed on the NRA(S) survey list, relating to emigration from the Long Island estate to Canada, and which have not been deposited in the University, are believed to be held by the Saskatchewan Archives Board, University of Saskatchewan, 3 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Canada, S4S OA2 (ref. R-2.999). N.B. The University does not presently ( August 2002) hold a copy of this microfilm.

Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives (e-mail: and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures

Custodial History

The records were surveyed in situ, at Cluny Castle, Aberdeenshire, by the National Register of Archives (Scotland) in 1974. Storage conditions at the castle being found unsuitable for their long-term preservation, in 1997 they were placed on temporary deposit at the Scottish Record Office. The agreement to their deposit on indefinite loan to the University of Aberdeen was signed in June 1998, and the records were physically transferred to the University in 1999.


An additional deposit of estate deeds and related papers dating from the 17th c - 19th c is anticipated in 2002.

Related Material

Manuscript notes on the first family of Gordon of Cluny in Aberdeenshire (based upon the Balbithan MSS) (GB 231 MS 2345).

Several printed items relating to Cluny Castle and estate are deposited in the University Local and Pamphlet Collections. Full reference details will be found on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original