Glamis Castle is an imposing castle home situated in the rolling Tayside countryside north of Dundee. There has been a castle on this site since the mid 12th century although little of that structure remains. It is the ancestral seat to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne. In 1376 King Robert II granted the Glamis estate to John Lyon, Lord Glamis, who rebuilt an existing fortified house on the site which forms the core of the 17th century castle that was further expanded and strengthened throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Castle is full of myth and legend and claims to be the most haunted castle in Britain. The most famous spectre is the Monster of Glamis who is said to be a hideously deformed child born into the family. Legend has it that the monster was kept in the castle all his life and his suite of rooms bricked up after his death. The monster haunts the castle to this day.
Further hauntings include reference to a seat in the chapel at Glamis is reserved for the “White Lady”, the ghost of Janet Douglas and a never-ending game of cards between Lord Glamis, The Earl of Crawford and the devil which is played in a room deep in the crypt walls. The disturbances from the room next to the Crypt were so great that it was permanently sealed some 300 years after the first hand was played.
Glamis is the inspiration for Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, as the location where Macbeth murders Duncan to become king of Scots.
Glamis has long held royal connections, not alway congenial. Malcolm II King of Scotland (954AD to 1034AD) was mortally wounded in a nearby battle and taken to a Royal Hunting Lodge, which sat at the site of the present castle, where he died. He was transported to the holy island of Iona where he is buried.
In the 16th century James V, King of Scotland accused Lord and Lady Glamis of treason, an accusation that was part of a family feud and attempted coup on the title and land of Glamis. Janet Douglas (Lady Glamis) was charged with poisoning her husband, Lord Glamis, who had died in September 1528. When the court found her not guilty she was then accused of witchcraft and was burned at the stake in Edinburgh in July 1537. James V subsequently seized Glamis, living there for some time. Eventually Glamis was returned to John Lyon, 7th Lord Glamis in 1543.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s parents were Lord and Lady Glamis and she lived at Glamis for a period. She gave birth to Princess Margaret, the Queen’s younger Sister, on 21 August 1930. She was the first royal baby to have been born in Scotland since Charles I in 1600.
The interior of Glamis is suitably opulent and houses hundreds of priceless artworks from European masters. Much of the decor and furniture is Edwardian and more homely than its exterior appearance reveals. In fact in many respects the interior is quite ‘livable’.