And on we go to the next castle, Huntly Castle in Aberdeenshire, the former seat of one of medieval and Renaissance Scotland’s most powerful families, Clan Gordon, Earl of Huntly.
Today Huntly Castle is a stunning ruin near Huntly, a pretty market town. This place is actually the location of four different castles over the time period of 600 years.
Around 1180 Duncan, Earl of Fife built the first castle here, a wooden defence construction around a motte. This motte can still be seen as a hill right next to the castle.
Around 1400 Sir Alexander Seton, later Lord Gordon had the old wooden castle removed and built a new stone tower house, from which only the thick foundation walls are visible today. The castle burned down and another one, much grander, was built in 1460 – already on today’s location but only the cellars remained.
By 1550 George, the 4th Earl of Huntly, was also Lord Chancellor of Scotland and one of the wealthiest men in the kingdom. He rebuilt the castle above the basement level into a grand palace, finishing the work just in time for a visit by Mary de Guise, widow of James V and mother of Mary Queen of Scots. (Undiscovered Scotland)
After a few falling out with Mary Queen of the Scots and James VI and some damages on the castle, a remodelling started around 1600 to make an even more impressive palace. Beautiful fireplaces and decorative designs were added.
Huntly Castle last played an active role in Scottish History in 1746, when it was held by Government Troops against the Jacobites. It later became a handy quarry for those building the town of Huntly before its value as an attractive ruin began to be appreciated in the late 1800s. (Undiscovered Scotland)
There is a lot to see at Huntly Castle, the Renaissance palace, the motte, an old brewhouse and bakehouse in the courtyard, a beautiful garden and remains of a cobbled medieval road.