Huntly Castle – A Hidden Gem of Scotland
Strategically placed at the confluence of rivers Deveron and Bogie in Aberdeenshire, Huntly Castle, near Aberdeen in Scotland. was a prominent castle in its heyday. The original structures were built around 1240 by Earl Duncan. The first Lord of Strathbogie was awarded lands by King William the Lion towards the end of the 12th century and he first constructed a timber castle on an artificial mound near the River Deveron. A stone castle built subsequently was known as The Peel of Strathbogie because of its location along major routes.
In 1314, King Robert awarded the lands to Sir Adam Gordon of Huntly and the castle became the seat of the Gordon clan who were among the most powerful people in Scotland. The name Huntly Castle came into regular use only since the early 1500s.
Today a mound in the grounds of the castle is all that remains of the 12th century motte. The first stone castle was built here at the end of the 14th century. It was burned down in 1452 by the Douglas Earl of Moray, and the first Earl of Huntly put up the new castle in the 1460s. It was built just to the south of the old tower now in ruins, but the rectangular shape with wall about 8 feet thick can be recognized.
The new L plan castle consists of a well-preserved five-story tower with an adjoining great hall and supporting buildings. The ground level of the tower of this fortified structure was a prison. Known for its splendid architecture, Huntly Castle was one of the noblest baronial mansions in Scotland and the Gordon family residence for five centuries. Even today, despite the damage over the years, fine heraldic sculpture and inscribed armorial stone friezes over the main entrance door and carved fireplaces are quite impressive. The extended windows of the great hall on the third floor can be seen. The castle was remodeled twice subsequently; wings were added in 16th Century by the 4th Earl of Huntly and in 17th century by the first Marquess of Huntly. The castle was in the possession of the Gordon clan till 1923.