Fyvie Castle – Five Times as Grand
History, royalty, beauty, and ghosts - Fyvie Castle offers all this and more! The imposing Scottish Baronial fortress with five towers stands in a commanding position on the left bank of river Ythan in the lowlands of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Fyvie Castle has a colorful history and was believed to have built by William the Lion in 1211. Charles I lived there as a child and Robert the Bruce held an open-air court at Fyvie.
It ceased to be a royal stronghold after the Battle of Otterburn in1390 and was owned in succesion by five families, Preston, Meldrum, Seton, Gordon and Leith. Built on extensive undulating countryside in the centre of a parish of the same name, each of the five towers of this great Z plan castle has been added by successive families who owned it. Each alteration added a new kitchen, the older one being converted into something else – like the billiard room.
The distinct influences of each are visible even today amidst the medieval stones and luxurious Edwardian interiors. The gallery and drawing room with a barrel-vaulted ceiling and pipe organ in the Leith and Gordon towers are among the finest Edwardian rooms in Britain. The First Earl of Dunfermline built the outstanding ten feet wide great stone wheel stair– the finest of its kind in Scotland. The Leith Tower is covered with the arms of Lord Leith’s ancestors.
Fyvie Castle has an extraordinary portrait collection, including works by Batoni, Romney, Gainsborough, Opie, Lawrence and Hoppner. It has one of the largest private collections of Raeburns in the world and the vast chambers of the castle display an impressive collection of fine furniture, tapestries, arms and armor. The American industrialist, Alexander Leith bought the castle in 1885 and it was handed to the National Trust for Scotland by his descendants in 1984.
Fyvie’s grounds and lochside were landscaped in the early 19th century. The 18th-century walled garden was recently transformed into a garden of Scottish fruits and vegetables. Other areas on the extensive property are the American Garden and parklands. The trees merge into deep, dark woods on the hills, giving the entire place an aura of mystery and romance. Several tales of ghosts and haunting are associated with Fyvie Castle.