• Exterior of Cortes house

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History of Cortes House...

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HISTORIC LUXURY VENUE ABERDEENSHIREAtrium and stair case in Cortes House

Cortes House was built in 1810 during the Regency period and has a Grade B listing from Historic Scotland. It is a wonderful example of the elegance of the architecture at the time. The house has a number of remarkable architectural features, including a beautiful cupola above an atrium around which the main rooms in the house are located. It was originally at the centre of a 2,000 acre estate which included the largest mountain in the area, Mormond Hill; indeed the house was originally known as Mormond House.

Lonmay village, where Cortes House is located, is renowned as the place where Elvis Presley’s ancestors once lived. Lonmay church has a plaque which refers to Andrew Presley, who left Scotland in 1770 to travel to the colonies! The rest, as they say, is history…

The area around Cortes (Cortes actually means “circle” in Celtic) is a favourite with archaeologists (and now Highlander enthusiasts!), with many Celtic stone circles and cairns (stone burial grounds), some of which date back to the Bronze Age (400-700BC). The nearest is at MeExterior stair case up to the entrance of Cortes Housemsie (2 miles away), and this great cairn (24 metres in diameter and 4 metres high) is the sole survivor of three huge cairns. Another example can be seen at Strichen, where the circle dates back to the second millennium BC.

A fascinating study on the local history of the area was carried out by Andrew Sturdy. An article on Elvis Presley’s ancestors, who are rumoured to have originated from the village in which Cortes House is situated, can be found here.

Cortes was purchased by its current owners in 2002 and restored to its former glory. Having three children themselves, they had a wonderful time thinking through how to make the house family-friendly, while retaining all the grand elegance of the house itself. They have done a fantastic job, and Cortes has now become a notable luxury venue in Aberdeenshire.

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