(Publication Unidentified) published about the
26th. July 1937
The ultimate disposal of
the noble fortalice that for nearly five centuries was the home of Queen
Elizabeth’s ancestors, becomes a subject of public interest since
Charles James George Paterson who died in Edinburgh early on Saturday
morning was, in male descent, the last of his line. His sister, Miss
Victoria Paterson is the solitary survivor of a large family.
Over twenty years ago the
late laird disposed of the lands of Castle Huntly. The castle was offered
for sale, and was bought in, while the larger part of the once rich estate
passed to different owners near and far, with the major part of Longforgan
village, indwellers thirled to tradition, continuing to regard Mr Paterson
as "The Laird". On his part the old ties remained unchanged; and
at Lonforgan’s celebration of the Silver Jubillee he received an ovation
that demonstrated the affection of his homely neighbours and friends.
Not alone the future of
Castle Huntly, but that of the famous Wallace Cottage in Longforgan, the
village cross crumbling away in the Castle Park, and the green stone on
which William Wallace the Liberator, rested while fleeing from Dundee
after striking the first blow for Scottish independence, all these are now
exciting many minds.
And the ultimate disposal
of much else, for the laird had what connoisseurs regarded as great
possessions — Raeburn portraits, furnishings in Castle Huntly dating
from the visit of Charles II and precious bric-a-brac in The Cottage at
A Famous Ball
The "Evening Telegraph
and Post" published recently an article recording the orgy that took
place at the ball which introduced Mr Paterson’s ancestor to society in
Dundee and district. He was George Paterson, a typical example of the
Scottish adventurers who exploited India in the service of the East India
Company. He was both doctor and diplomat and in both capacities he served
the interests of the great Clive, the smash-and-grab soldier.
George Paterson acquired
fame and fortune in the province of Arcot, and the dramatic chronicle of
his adventures is preserved in manuscripts massed, carefully enough, in an
outbuilding in Castle Huntly.
George Paterson returned to Scotland
with a large fortune. He must have been a man of exceptional ability and
he had social ambitions. In the letters of George Dempster of Dunnichen
the account of the ball in Dundee already referred to indicated that
society in the city and county regarded him as a parvenu beyond the pale.
But Dempster sponsored him and a flood of wine floated him into the inner
circle. He was to make good.
Lady of the Lyons
In 1776 the widow of John, seventh
Earl of Strathmore and ninth Earl of Kinghorne, elected to live in London
and sold the estate of Castle Lyon — as it was named then — to the
Indian nabob, George Paterson, who paid £40,000 for it. Then with the
prestige he had acquired he married the Hon. Anne Gray, daughter of the
twelfth Lord Gray whose ancestor had built the castle in 1452. Thus the
grand old fortalice was reunited with its original owners. Mr Paterson
restored its first name of Castle Huntly.
While the Lyons owned it, Castle
Lyon, in the middle of the seventeenth century, Patrick, Earl of Kinghorne
who became first Earl of Strathmore, came to it as a mere youth from study
at St. Andrews. Cultured, shrewd, industrious and with the flair for
building he applied himself to enlarging and beautifying the castle and
recovering the waste lands around it. Then he brought home a bride. The
magistrates of Dundee gave the young couple a Civic Reception. At that
time Glamis was derelict.
Links with Dundee
In 1777 the advent of Mr George
Paterson and his aristocratic bride instituted associations between Castle
Huntly and Dundee. Mr Paterson was a man of outstanding ability, cultured,
amiable and generous. He was an ardent Freemason and associated himself
with the Dundee Lodge which met in the Townhouse. To adorn the meeting
place he gifted the superb, perhaps unequalled crystal chandeliers which
are now stored away somewhere in our civic headquarters. Mr Paterson
became the first Provincial Grand Master of Forfarshire. His family was
portrayed in a famous Raeburn canvas which sold for a large sum. A few
years ago a portrait of his wife, the Hon. Anne Gray was acquired by Lord
Kinnaird and is in Rossie Priory.
Charles James George Paterson the
last of his line was a laird of the old school with a paternal care for
his people. He was imperious, brooking no opposition; yet withal he was
Victorian in mind and habit Mr
Paterson was far from being cynical towards modernism. His outlook was
large; his sympathies were broad. In the Lyon dining room at The Cottage
in Longforgan he would, in a shrewd and charming way disburse his
knowledge of the world and human nature felt, seen and heard in the course
of travel far and wide.
His early career was passed in India
where he captained the Calcutta Cricket Club. At Loretto School he had won
honours on the sports field and in the classroom. He was victor in 100 and
300 yards races and he made fine scores in inter-city cricket. His love
for cricket remained to the last and when old and feeble he still
struggled to sit out a match at the Oval.
By his ancestor’s union with a
daughter of the family of Lord Gray, Mr Paterson was remotely linked with
the Lyons. Queen Elizabeth was aware of this fact and it added to her
interest when, as Duchess of York, she visited Castle Huntly on several
occasions, always admiring its commanding situation established as it is
on a glacier-worn rock rising forty feet above the level of the Carse.
Unidentified Newspaper Article
SECRETS OF 500-YEAR-OLD
Strange Dungeon Revealed
Castle Huntly 500-year-old Carse of
Gowne landmark near Longforgan may yield up some of its secrets. Workmen,
who were pulling down the 10 feet thick walls at the main entrance, are
excited by the prospect of finding the mysterious passages and hidden
vaults which the castle is said to contain.
The alterations are being undertaken
at the behest of Colonel A G Paterson, DSO who intends to make Castle
Huntly his home.
But the interesting part about the
modifications is that they are not going to modernise the castle as a home
but to rebuild certain parts in ancient style.
Castle Huntly was built originally
in 1452 and there have been various additions and changes since.
During preliminary investigations a
number of old plans were discovered in an underground wine cellar. This
"find" apart from its outstanding interest to architects because
it preserved details of 300-year-old styles of building, has been of great
value in the reconstruction.
The idea is to rebuild according to
the Georgian style, work which will have to wait until the tremendous task
of pulling down the 10 foot walls is completed. The development may take a
Castle Huntly is reputed to have a
ghost, a tunnel connecting it to Glamis Castle — at
one time it belonged to the Lyon family and was known as Lyon Castle —
and various dungeons cut out of the solid rock on which the
Everyone on the job is keyed up at
the prospect of finding some link with these century-old secrets.
Richard Duff head gardener,
unearthed some bones, not valuable in themselves as they appeared to
belong to some animal but interesting on account of the fact that teeth
buried in earth for approximately 300 years were in perfect condition.
Duff made the discovery when the kitchen floor was being dug up in a part
of the castle known to be over 300 years old. The teeth, set firmly in the
jawbones were perfectly preserved. The explanation is believed to be that
there was a strong proportion of lime in the ground.
Excavations in the hall have
revealed a dungeon which can only be reached by a rope ladder. There
appears to be no other means of entrance or exit, but a detailed
examination will be made later. It is believed to be the place to which
the host consigned those visitors who did not meet with his approval.
As the stones are being dislodged
they are carefully marked, for the intention is to incorporate as many as
possible in the new building. There is to be no compromise with utility.
The new part of the castle will not be distinguishable in appearance from
Unidentified Newspaper Article
SECRETS OF CARSE STRONGHOLD
The ancient grandeur of Castle
Huntly is in process of revelation.
Beside what was the moat, has been
laid bare some massive stonework suggesting the foundations of a building
When Lord Gray of Fowlis erected
this portalice in the middle of the 15th century Scotland was in a
turmoil. Lord was against lord; clan was against clan. Men had to prepare
their homes against attach. An ideal site for a stronghold was the
ice-scarred rock rising 40 feet above the level of the Tay among the reedy
marshes of the Carse.
As seen today Castle Huntly nobly
massive as it is does not represent anything like the appearance it must
have presented when it belonged to the Grays, nor when it passed into the
possession of the Lyons.
When almost 300 years ago Lord
Kinghome who became the first Earl of Strathmore came to it from St
Andrews University he found the tower almost empty. At that time the Carse
surrounding his empty house was largely marsh, and his diary, preserved in
"The Glamis Book of Record" edited by the late Dr. A H Millar,
records his enterprise in draining his water-logged lands.
Two centuries had elapsed since Lord
Gray — with whom the present owner of Castle
Huntly Mr J G Paterson traces connection — had
erected a stronghold on the ice-scarred rock rising from the Carse
The rusty rings showing where boats
once moored close under Castle Huntly indicate not that the Tay washed
over the now smiling fields of the Carse, but that long levels were
formerly threaded by deep waterways, of which the silvern stream
meandering through Castle Huntly policies is the sole survivor.
Work for the W.R.I.
The known romance of history linked
with Castle Huntly might be amplified by local folk if they could be
induced to acquire the habits of antiquaries. Unfortunately Longforgan has
not instituted a branch of the W.R.I.
Recently the Angus branches of the
Women’s Rural Institute demonstrated in an memorable pageant their
capacity for historical research. Homely housewives discussed even the
likely footwear of Christian missionaries in Scotland a thousand and more
years ago. In to the humdrum of domestic duty in cottages had come the
inspirational charm of historic romance.
The W.R.I. would do a national
service of permanent value if it co-ordinated the work of its branches in
amplifying local histories. Some branch might pioneer in forming a
collection of local photographs, local songs and poems, local pebbles,
Longforgan parish has been
historised by Rev. Adam Philip, DD, but since his very valuable book was
published not a little new knowledge has emerged. The discovery at Castle
Huntly affords proof that the ancient appearance of this Carse stronghold
is not manifest in its present features. Even amateur research might add
considerable to what the specialist knowledge of Dr Philip has placed on
The Duchess of York’s Visit
Not even the most alert among
Longforgan folk were aware of the identity of the charming lady whose car
some two years ago turned down the picturesque road that leads from
Longorgan village to the beautiful gateway of Castle Huntly. The car
contained the Duchess of York who then for the first time saw the glorious
old castle once possessed by her
forebears. The Duchess returned the next day bringing with her the
Countess of Strathmore.
Castle Huntly, the old home
of the Lyons, has an artistic grandeur impossible to Glamis. Its position
on a rock rising 40 feet above the Tay level allows of noble views from
its terraced gardens.
These gardens are
exceedingly beautiful with the glamour of romance, associated with shady
walks on which one expects, perhaps, to meet the figure of the Merry
Monarch who came there to escape the dreary atmosphere under which his
spirit sank at Scone. The dining-room in Castle Huntly retains probably
all the furnishings present when Charles II enjoyed a meal in it.