• winton castle


Winton Castle Caretaker Vacancy


The role has three primary responsibilities linked to property, events and health and safety on a country estate near Edinburgh.

  • Property: Security and maintenance of a castle, three ‘farmhouses’ and some in-hand sheds – shared with the estate factor.
  • Events: Assist hospitality team to host weddings, dinners, meetings and activity days.
  • Health & Safety: Provide a lead (with external consultants) for the benefit of colleagues and visitors.

It is well-suited to someone who is practical, fit and has an eye for detail. It is a live-in role; the accommodation provided offers a comfortable and modern, two-bedroom flat in Winton Castle, pre-dating Mary Queen of Scots and the Tudors.

Variety is assumed – in part due to the nature of the buildings but also the interaction with visitors, events and the seasons. It combines front-of-house customer care, with less dramatic work in the background. The hours can be irregular and sometimes unsociable when events within the castle are in progress, however this is taken into account as much as possible in order to allow for regular time off when alternative cover is provided by an assistant caretaker.

The need for flexibility is a factor both of the ongoing evolution of the castle for hospitality as well as being able to react to the variety of people who visit. A good level of fitness is required for this physical and energetic role; examples include coping with stairs, moving furniture between functions, setting up outdoor activities and involvement with colleagues dealing with the estate wood fuel enterprise.

Place of Work

Winton Castle lies 14 miles to the south east of Edinburgh and is home to the Ogilvy family. Winton is open for private and corporate hospitality as a venue for dinners, weddings, activity days, meetings, overnight accommodation and occasional tours for the general public. It is one of the most important castles in Scotland architecturally and is surrounded by an agricultural estate with direct links back to 1150.

The Potting Shed, adjacent to the walled garden, has been recently renovated to broaden the hospitality opportunities. There are three self-catering properties nearby, available for let all year round and are sometimes used in conjunction with events held at Winton Castle. There are also a number of let cottages on the Estate although there is likely to be only limited involvement with these.

The castle has become well established for corporate hospitality; it has won prestigious awards for customer service and a green tourism gold award for the approach to management benefitting the environment and community. The caretaking position is crucial to sustain the service which is now expected from the events team and also to maintain the castle and grounds to a similarly high standard. Sharing the beauty of Winton with a wide range of visitors is considered important: we hope to allow them to enjoy their stay to the extent that they wish to return.

Character of Applicant

The position is one of trust and responsibility. It can involve close contact with many members of the public and requires someone with integrity and the capacity to work long hours where necessary, often on Saturdays (closed on Sundays). We are looking for someone who naturally seeks to create and maintain order, thinks a job through in detail and who can work independently using their own initiative.

The successful applicant will be practical – keen to roll their sleeves up including a variety of general maintenance and repair work. A good level of fitness is essential since this is a physically energetic job. Communication skills and a sense of humour will prove useful with colleagues, contractors, suppliers and visitors.


The list below of specific duties is given for indicative purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive.


Repairs & Maintenance:

Operational assistance to factor for the maintenance of Winton Castle, 3 self-catering farmhouses, Potting shed & in-hand sheds. Monitoring condition of roofs, plumbing & drainage, electrics etc – arranging for repairs where necessary, in consultation with factor and liaising with tradesmen and suppliers for access. Organising window cleaning, chimney sweeping, maintenance and servicing of appliances, etc. Responsibility for the heating systems (space and water) in all the properties along with the Head Groundsman including woodchip, oil and electricity. Assist with the conservation of the property contents, both old and new, either in-house or liaising with external experts.


Stocktaking/ordering for heating fuel, lighting and catering cooker. Regular reading of the various electricity meters. Up-to-date record keeping (electronic and paper). Responsibility for all types of waste including removal, disposal, emptying and licensing.


Maintenance of estate equipment including mechanical and electrical installations, portable equipment & appliances.

Security & fire safety:

Opening up and closing house daily. General responsibility for security of Winton Castle, 3 self-catering farmhouses, Potting shed & in-hand sheds. Interaction with members of the public to maintain privacy of the castle. Emergency Procedures, liaison with Fire Brigades, colleagues & visitors. Ensure regular testing of equipment including fire extinguishers, alarm monitoring & devices. Inclusion as an on-call key holder if alarms are activated Maintenance of key records.


Monitoring of environmental standards & provision across all properties including recycling, waste disposal and energy usage.


Setting up & clearing equipment for functions, from tables, chairs & bar units to cabling for marquee events, or setting up equipment for outdoor activities. Assisting with all types of events, particularly activity days like highland games and clay pigeon shoots. Meeting and greeting visitors to the castle, assisting with luggage, assist with preparing self-catering properties for guest’s self-check-in. Being part of an “on -call rota” for self-catering properties.

Health and Safety


Overall responsibility to staff and visitors for Health & Safety policy (in consultation with Advisors), procedures, implementation and recording. Once new positions are filled for Estate Forester and Estate Ranger, responsibility for Health and Safety relative to the Gardens, Estate Maintenance and Woodfuel will hopefully be able to be transferred to the new posts. Emergency point of contact for colleagues and guests.

Risk Assessment & Monitoring:

In consultation with colleagues, ensure preparation of risk assessments for estate events and equipment.

Staff Training

Carry out and ensure staff and contractors awareness of H & S requirements for all properties, provision for individuals, events and activities. Responsibility for first aid generally including training, the accident book, reporting of accidents and any investigation. Regular reviews of staff training needs, including adequacy also for part-time and casual employees for safe working arrangements.


Assessment with colleagues of working methods and provision of suitable equipment used. Regular reviews and examination and testing of the local exhaust ventilation systems. Responsible for checking first-aid kits regularly and replacing items that have been used or are past their ‘use-by’ date.

Liaison with contractors:

Ensure that an effective, formal system for approving and managing contractors is in place and that it is applied to all contractors used across the Estate. Ensure contractors and caterers provide proof relevant of in-date PAT testing.

Additional Assistance

Occasional assistance to grounds & woodfuel team during peak times when permissible.


The successful applicant will be answerable principally to the Hospitality Manager and in his / her absence, or specifically for non-event-related work, to Sir Francis Ogilvy. The varied nature of the role will require you to work as a team player with the Events and Housekeeping teams, and for specific related work with the Grounds, Gardening and Woodfuel teams.


A self-contained, south facing flat is provided, occupying the barrel-vaulted rooms on the ground floor of the 15th century castle. The Garden Flat oozes character and has a large living/dining room within the former 17th century kitchen, two double bedrooms, kitchen, study and bath/shower room. The flat has its own separate entry door. The heating for radiators and hot water comes from a woodchip-fired boiler within the gardens.

Terms and Conditions

Your hours of work will total 40 per week. Your days/hours may change from week to week to accommodate the events schedule. There is a deputy caretaker to enable weekend work to be shared; the average working week is Tuesday to Friday, 8am to 4.30pm with half an hour for lunch and Saturday 4 hours between 8am to around 6pm depending on the event and hand-over to colleagues. The remaining 4 hours will form a bank of hours to be worked outside these times when required before, during or after events.


28 days including public holidays. It will be unlikely that extended holidays will be possible during the summer.


Full UK driving license required. There is a shared works van but currently no dedicated vehicle with this role; it is recommended that the caretaker has their own transport. For private car use on Winton business a mileage allowance will be paid.


The salary is dependent upon experience. It is inclusive of furnished accommodation within the Castle, Council Tax, heating and lighting, telephone line rental and internet access.

Start date:

As soon as possible.

To Apply

Please send your C.V. and covering letter to recruitment@wintoncastle.co.uk

Closing date: 26th June 2021.