CAWDOR, a village and parish of Nairnshire, Scotland. Pop. of parish (1901) 925. The village is situated 5 m. S.S.W. of Nairn and 3 m. from Gollanfield Junction on the Highland railway. The castle was the scene, according to the tradition which Shakespeare has perpetuated, of the murder of King Duncan by Macbeth, thane of Cawdor (or Calder), in 1040. Since the oldest part of the structure dates from 1454, however, and seemingly had no predecessor, the tradition has no foundation in fact. The building stands on the rocky bank of Cawdor Burn, a right-hand tributary of the Nairn. The massive keep with small turrets is the original portion of the castle, and to it were added, in the 17th century, the modern buildings forming two sides of a square.
Kilravock (pronounced Kilrawk) Castle, 11 m. W. of Cawdor, occupies a commanding site on the left bank of the Nairn. Its keep dates from 1460, and the later buildings belong to the 17th century. It has been continuously tenanted by the Roses, one of the most remarkable families in Scotland. They came over with William the Conqueror and settled at Kilravock in 1293, since which date son has succeeded father without the interposition of a collateral heir, an instance of direct descent unique in Scottish history. Moreover, nearly every Rose has borne the Christian name of Hugh, and only one attained to a higher social rank than that of laird. Queen Mary was received at the castle in 1562, and Prince Charles Edward was entertained four days before the battle of Culloden. The gardens are remarkable for their beauty.