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Huntly Castle

Huntly Castle

Huntly Castle is a ruined castle in Huntly in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It was the ancestral home of the chief of Clan Gordon, Earl of Huntly.

Architecturally the L plan castle consists of a well-preserved five-story tower with an adjoining great hall and supporting buildings. Areas of the original ornate facade and interior stonework remain. A mound in the grounds of the castle is all that remains of an earlier 12th century motte. Originally named Strathbogie, the castle was granted to Sir Adam Gordon of Huntly in the 14th century. King Robert the Bruce was a guest of the castle in 1307 prior to his defeat of the Earl of Buchan.

It was fired in 1452 by the Earl of Moray then extensively rebuilt by the first Earl of Huntly. In 1449 the king was at war with the powerful Earls of Douglas. The Gordons stood on the king’s side and, with their men involved in the south of the country, the Earl of Moray, a relation and ally of the Douglases, took the opportunity to sack the Gordon lands, setting Huntly Castle ablaze. The Gordons returned and quickly destroyed their enemies. Although the castle was burned to the ground, a grander castle was built in its place. In 1496, the pretender to the English throne Perkin Warbeck was married to Catherine Gordon at Huntly Castle, an act witnessed by King James IV of Scotland.

Captured in October, 1644, the castle was briefly held by James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose against the Duke of Argyll. In 1647 it was gallantly defended against General David Leslie by Lord Charles Gordon, but its 'Irish' garrison was starved into surrender. Savage treatment was meted out, for the men were hanged and their officers beheaded. In December of the same year Huntly himself was captured and on his way to execution at Edinburgh was detained, by a refinement of cruelty, in his own mansion. His escort were shot against its walls. In 1650 Charles II visited briefly on his way to the Battle of Worcester, defeat and exile. The Civil War brought an end to the Gordon of Huntly family's long occupation of the castle.


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