Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Exploring Scotland 1 Castle at a Time, Part 24, Forres and Fyvie Castle

Our B and B at the Old Kirk was in the Dyke area just a few miles from Forres, in Moray.  We stopped at Forres to go to the library and I wandered  around the village a little while. I don't have a clue why I didn't take pictures of the town itself. I guess because there were so many people going about their business that I felt it would be a infringement on their privacy.  I tried to avoid taking pictures of people because of that.
I settled in the park in the center of town and enjoyed the sunshine and a quiet moment. So I thought I'd share a couple of those pictures. Forres is one of the oldest villages in Scotland.

Everywhere we went people were so helpful and nice.  I bought minutes for the cell phone at a small market here in Forres.  (I purchased it from the T-mobile store in Edinburgh and you could purchase minutes at any of the markets and just call a number and they'd add them to your phone.)  I thought this small church next to the library was beautiful.

After a visit to the library we moved on to Fyvie Castle.

(Fyvie from the East)

Fyvie Castle was built in 1211 by William the Lion.  It was one of a chain of medieval strongholds built by the crown. William stayed at Fyvie in 1214 after it was finished. At that time it was probably just a tower house with a curtain wall around it.  Alexander II stayed at Fyvie in 1222.

( The west entrance)
In 1296, the structure had probably grown to include domestic buildings when the English king Edward I was making his campaign across Scotland trying to subjugate the clans and the Scottish crown.
In  the early 1300's  Robert the Bruce lived at Fyvie for a time In 1370 his son Robert II gave the castle to his son Robert III.  Robert the III passed the castle onto his cousin Sir James Lindsay.  In 1388 the battle of Ottenburn was fought and an English knight Sir Ralph da Percy was captured by Sir Lindsay's brother-in-law Sir Henry Preston. Robert the III transfered ownership from Linday to Preston which caused some major strife between the factions involved.   The Prestons didn't take possession of the castle until 1402. 


In 1433 the castle was passed on to Sir Preston's oldest daughter and the Meldrum family.  Both of these families added towers to the structure that were named after their families.    

(Fyvie from the South)
In 1596 the castle was sold to Sir Alexander Seton who latter became the Chancelor of Scotland.
The Preston tower stands on the left corner and the Meldrum tower on the right and in the middle is the Seton tower.  Sir Alexander Seton is responsible for the way the castle looks today. He did a wide range of l building to tie the structure together more cohesively.

The castle passed on to Sir Alexander Seton's son, the 4th Earl of Dumfermline. The Earl got involved in the Jacobite uprising and had to leave the country.  He died in exile in 1694. The crown had already confiscated his property and the castle remained in their possession until it was purchased in 1733 by William Gordon, the 2nd Earl of Aberdeen.  He too added a tower to the castle called the Gordon tower. he also did most of the landscaping and gardens.

In 1885 Fyvie was put on the market and bought by Alexander Leith for 170,000. Gosh he got a bargain!!! Leith had made his fortune in steele in America.  He built the Leith tower and added a collection of armour and tapestries to the interior.

In 1982 the castle was placed on the market again and Historic Scotland purchased it in 1984. 

In the interior, the most wonderful feature of the castle is the Great Wheeled Staircase.  It was amazing. They held weddings at the castle and there were signs that said, no stilettos on the stairs. 
Armor and weapons decorated the walls as you climbed them.
The Gallery, where weddings are held, had organ pipes at one end.  It was a beautiful room. And the ceiling was amazing.

The fireplace in the main hall had a relief sculpture over it that was well worth a look and a picture, if they'd have let me take it. (darn)

The bathrooms had the wonderful claw footed bathtubs.  My two favorite rooms in the castle were the library (of course) and the Morning room. I'm always on the lookout for places to curl up with a book.  

The gardens were lovely. And the area wildlife came out to say hello and pose for a picture. 

There were three interesting stories associated with the castle that our tour guide told us.  One was about a curse placed on the castle by a visitor. He started to come into the castle and the Yett swung closed in his face. ( A Yett is an iron gate woven together in such a manner that it's nearly indestructable. ) He placed a curse on the castle that said no direct heir would be born to Fyvie if three stones that he cursed weren't found and kept inside the castle.  Only one stone was found and thus Fyvie has passed from family to family.  

The other story was that Lillie D. Drummond, the wife of one of the lords of the castle died. Her husband soon remarried a woman he had been involved with before his wife's death.  While waiting for their  appartments to be  redecorated, the couple slept in one of the small bedrooms down the hall.  During the night they were disturbed by soft noises.  When they rose, they discovered that the name of the dead wife had been carved in the window facing outside the window, 3 stories in the air. 

There was also a story where one of the lords of the castle had discovered a skeleton buried within a wall while having some renovations done.  He had the bones buried in a local churchyard. For days after the burial there were noises and other disturbances. The servants saw a woman in the stairways and wandering the grounds.  The lord had the bones exhumed and  replaced inside  the wall. And the disturbances ceased. 

I hope you've enjoyed the blog.  Tomorrow we'll be going to my next favorite castle. and the castle used on the front of my book, Highland Moonlight.  Eileen Donan Castle.   
                                      Write on,    Teresa R.


Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I love the myths and curses you wrote about. It sure does make the castle interesting. It looked pink on just the one side? The other sides looked gray.

OH I cannot wait until tomorrow. Eileen Donan is my MOST favorite castle in the world. We went back a second day. Did you by any chance stop in the gift store and the cafeteria? We ate a Million Dollar Bar and (yes I am confessing) is the real reason we had to go back a second day to eat another one. Also, we ended up getting acquainted with the Scot selling the postcards. What a hoot he was and he was happy to talk about the castle and his beloved Scotland. If only we had that recipe - I know, my priorities are in the wrong place, but chocolate is chocolate and in that particular case heaven on a plate.

Teresa Reasor said...

We didn't eat a million dollar bar there but we did eat at the visitors center at Urghart castle. It was really good food there. I got home made mushroom soup. Theirs is different than ours. It had corn in it.
Eileen Donan is beautiful. I'll talk about it tomorrow and post my pictures.
Teresa R.

Laurel said...

Teresa, I have been enjoying your tour of Scottish castles and battlegrounds so much. When my husband and I took our trip to Scotland we concentrated on the Northeast side of the country since my father came from Fraserburgh and Aberdeen and it was a sentimental journey for me. We did go to Edinburgh and spent a lot of time at the castle there and at Holyrood House. Since I am unlikely to be able to travel that far again in Europe, your posts are giving me the benefit of your trip. Thanks.

Teresa Reasor said...

Thank you Laurel. I appreciate your reading the blog.
I'm glad you're enjoying it.
Teresa R.

Devon Matthews said...

Teresa, I've been following the castle tour with avid interest. After seeing all the pictures, I feel like I was there with you. Can't wait for tomorrow's installment. I know how special Eileen Donan is to you. I hope all the history and atmosphere you soaked up during your trip gave you the inspiration to finish your next Scottish Medieval. Write on, girlfriend!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Teresa, I love this blog series. Thank you so much for all the photos and historical info. Some of my ancestors were from this area, and that makes the info even more enjoyable.

Teresa Reasor said...

Thanks so much for commenting on the blog. I still have several to do.
It takes forever to upload the pictures. But I'm so glad everyone is enjoying them. And I get to brag about how good a photographer I am. Ha.

Teresa R.

Teresa Reasor said...

Thanks so much friend for following the blog. I'd have loved for you to go with us. We'd have had a blast.
I wish my pictures would inspire you to write a Scottish Medieval. I know how much history you have in your head just waiting to get out.

Teresa R.