by Walter Bissell
The Fyvie Castle is located near the village of Fyvie, on the bank of the Ythan river in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Some believe its foundations were laid as early as 1066, before the Norman conquest, but it was not until 1211 that it was completed by William the Lion.
The Clans of Fyvie Castle
Fyvie Castle has been the home of five different Scottish clans. The Preston, Meldrum, Seton, Gordon and Leith families each added their own unique touches to the castle by erecting new towers, windows and staircases. The interior features a great wheel stair, a collection of famous portraits and a display of authentic weapons and armament. The descendants of Alexander Leith, who owned Fyvie castle since the late 1800’s, sold it to the Nation Trust for Scotland in 1984.
The Ghosts of Fyvie
When Lady Meldrum died, sometime in the 13th century, her body was sealed in the wall of a secret room within the Meldrum Tower as she had requested. She imposed a curse of disaster on anyone who entered the room. During renovation of the castle in 1920, workmen discovered her remains. From that day on the castle has been plagued by strange noises and unexplained happenings. The ghost of Lady Meldrum was seen frequently thereafter. Her ghost is referred to today as the “Grey Lady”.
Another ghost, known as the "Green Lady", frequents Fyvie Castle. She is thought to be the wife of Sir Alexander Seton who starved her to death so he could marry her cousin. The ghost of Dame Lillias Drummond is said to have scratched her name upside down on the window sill outside of the bedroom being used by the newlyweds. Her name can still be seen there today. It is reported that the “Green Lady” leaves the scent of roses wherever she goes.
A “phantom trumpeter” is also heard throughout the castle. It is said to be the ghost of Andrew Lammie who died of grief after the death of his true love.
Fyvie Castle Legends
Late at night, some say they hear the sound of bagpipes softly playing in the tower. Legend has it that “In 1615 during a feud between the McDonalds and the Campbells, a piper loyal to the McDonald clan had his fingers chopped off by the Campbells and bled to death.” Some say he plays the bagpipes still. Also attributed to Campbell are the strange knocking on doors and the sound of running footsteps.
Another interesting legend surrounding the castle is that of “the weeping stones of Fyvie.” Thomas the Rhymer also called “True Thomas,” as he had the gift of prophesy and of seeing the future, visited Fyvie Castle. Thomas gave the following prophesy to the owners of Fyvie before he left:
Fyvie, Fyvie, thou’s never thrive
As lang’s there’s in thee stanes (stones) three
There’s ane intill (one in) the oldest tower,
There’s ane intill the ladye’s bower,
There’s ane intill the water-yett (water gate)
And thir three stanes ye never get.
This unusual message is thought to refer to three stones that were taken from sacred Church lands to build Fyvie Castle. Until these stones are returned to their original places there would never be an heir born in the castle. One stone was used in the foundation of Preston Tower; one stone was used to build the Charter Room (ladye’s bower); and one stone was rolled into the Ythan River. The stones are supposed to remain dry when all those around them are wet, and be wet when all the stones around them are dry. The stone in the Charter Room is the only stone that has ever been found. It is kept on display in a wooden bowl and is said to be dry at times, and yet so wet at other times, it displaces enough water to fill the bowl.
Have the words of “Thomas the Rhymer” come true? Yes indeed, from 1433 to the Leith family (the last owners), no firstborn son has ever survived to inherit Fyvie Castle. Perhaps the ghosts of Fyvie past are the only true heirs of Fyvie last.
Ghost Pictures Taken at Fyvie Castle:
Fyvie Castle Ghost Pictures (none known - please send us yours!)