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Huntly Castle
The People


Castle HuntlyCastle Huntly, or Castle Lyon as it was known for a time must surely be one of the most imposing strongholds of all the Scottish Castles built in the lofty tower and jamb style of the fifteenth century of local sandstone it radiated endurance and continuity. Today when viewed from the east it portrays the simplistic Georgian elegance of a fine country house with elegant gardens and sweeping driveways through mature parklands, but from the west it retains its full Fifteenth century baronial austerity.

Throughout its history it has seen extensive renovation, (not always for the better), and has provided a safe haven for many generations, being continuously occupied throughout its 550 years’ existence. For almost all of its history, the castle and its surrounding estate has been in private ownership, each owner contributing their own intriguing story. It is this story which has sustained Castle Huntly, and to a large degree influenced the economy of the area, from the marshy wilderness of a flood plain, to the rich highly cultivated farmland of today which forms the Carse of Gowrie.

The exact date when the story begins is unknown but it is considered as having been built by the Baron Gray of Fowlis some time after 1452, when a special licence was granted by James II in acknowledgement of his many faithful services. The castle was founded on a precipitous rock which rose from the level but marshy plain around it, the only substantial access route being a rocky causeway from the north.

The Grays (1452 -1614)

The family held high position both politically and socially. Through the unruly and troubled 15th and 16th century they distinguished themselves in service to their monarch and country. Descendants of a Norman — French family who settled in Chillingham in Northumberland they first came to the fore as followers of Prince David on his return to Scotland. He was later to be crowned King David I in 1124. The family received a grant of land at Browfeld in Roxburghshire where Andrew Gray, second son of Baron Gray of Chillingham settled in 1214. Service to the crown continued to be a feature of the family with the grandson of Andrew Gray of Browfield, also called Andrew, joining in the War of Independence in 1306 under the standard of Robert the Bruce in 1306, here he distinguished himself in the capture of Edinburgh Castle in 1312 being the second person to enter.

In recognition of the services rendered by Andrew Gray, Bruce bestowed on him by charter dated February 12th. 1315, the whole lands and tenements belonging to Sir Edmund Hastings, an English Knight, comprising the Barony of Longforgan, the lands of Craigie, Pitcarroch, Carniston and Milntoun. There is some suggestion that Edmund Hastings was of the same family as Lord John Hastings, which students of history will recollect as being one of the candidates for the throne of Scotland to appear before Edward I at Norham in 1291 and if so the actions of Bruce are understandable.

Although there is no record of Andrew Gray or any of his descendants permanently settling in the area of the Carse for the next hundred years, there is evidence of their presence in the area from the number of marriages contracted with families in the area. The lands would most likely have been managed from Browfield or the newly acquired estates at Broxmouth on the East coast not far from Dunbar. Indeed it was from the House of Yester, a neighbouring property to Broxmouth that Andrew took his bride, Ada Gifford.

Their son, David succeeded Andrew, taking the title Sir David Gray of Browfield and Broxmouth. They had issue: David, who succeeded his father with the title of Sir David Gray of Brownfield and Broxmouth who died in 1356, leaving sons, John and Thomas. It was John who succeeded his father, and acquired more lands at Cragie under charter from King David II on the 8th. September of that year. John had two sons, the elder also John died in England before his father without leaving issue leaving the title to the younger son Patrick in 1376.

Sir Patrick and his wife Margaret had seven children. While it was Andrew who inherited the estates in 1421 there is clear evidence to indicate that the family were of some status among the Scottish aristocracy. Daughters Margaret married Sir William Hay of Errol, Elizabeth married Andrew Moncur of that ilk and Marion married Lindsay of Crawford.

Andrew was to marry twice. His first wife was Janet, daughter and heir of Sir Roger de Mortimer of Fowlis of which he inherited on her death. His second wife with whom he had five children was Elizabeth daughter of Sir Walter Buchanan of that ilk.

On his death in 1445 he was succeeded by his eldest son, also called Andrew. Andrew who was born about 1390 played an important part in the Royal household. From 1424 to 1427 he was a hostage in England for his monarch, James I. While still Master of Gray he was dispatched to the Court of France in 1436 as a Commissioner to arrange the marriage of Margaret, the daughter of James I, to the Dauphin. He was also to serve James II as ambassador in peace negotiations with England.

The growing status of the Gray family was again to be evidenced by the marriage of Andrew to Elizabeth on 31st August 1418, daughter of Sir John Wemyss and heiress of Sir Andrew Rankine of Inchmartine and in 1444 Andrew was to be made a Lord of Parliament, taking the title of First Lord Gray of Fowlis.

In 1452 he was to be made Master of the Household, and, also in that year was granted a Licence from James II obtaining leave to build a fortalice in any part of his possessions of Fowlis (which had been inherited through his mother) or Longforgund (which had been in the possession of the family since 1315). The fortunes of the family had grown to incorporate much of the carseland, leaving the castle at Fowlis too small for the family and expanding retinue, to administer what was becoming an important and strategic part of Scotland.

Andrew’s eldest son, Patrick was to predecease his father in 1464 and it was to his son Andrew that the title, lands and newly constructed Castle Huntly was to succeed in 1470. The young Andrew, following in his grandfather’s footsteps was also to distinguish himself in affairs of the state. In 1488 he became a Lord of the Privy Council and High Sheriff of Angus then in 1489 was appointed Justice General of Scotland North of the Forth, with His career culminating in 1506 with the title of Justice General of Scotland.

High office created its distractions, and although the Second Lord Gray was close to James III, he was active in the plot to dethrone him and align with England under the nominal rule of Albany. However, when the young Prince James advanced his standard against his father at the Battle of Sauchieburn, where James III fell, Lord Gray was leader of the second line. Although there are no dispatches of Lord Gray at Flodden his second son, Robert died there.

With Castle Huntly completed by the Second Lord Gray, he could turn his sights to further consolidation of his lands along the Carse. An exchange with the Earl of Angus of the lands round the old fort at Broughty for Browfield in Roxburghshire cemented Andrew’s strategic position. He commenced to erect Broughty on the site of the old fort. This new castle at Port-on-Craig was to be of a very similar tower and jamb style to Castle Huntly but was strategically placed to hold a commanding position controlling the vital artery along the River Tay.

Compared with his immediate predecessor and his successor, the 3rd Lord Gray, Patrick, did not live in the public view. None the less, he extended the family seat by securing, under a Charter from James V., lands and baronies of Longforgound, Fowlis and Dundee with the castles of Huntly and Bruchty Craig and numerous other possessions in Forfarshire. He was twice married and by his first wife, Janet, daughter of the Second Earl of Huntly, had three daughters who each married a landed proprietor. Margaret, the eldest, married Sir William Keith of Inverurie; Marjorie married Patrick Ogilvie of Inchmartine; Isobel strengthened the family connection with Lundie by marrying Sir John Campbell of that place.

As there was no male heir, the title and estates on the death of the 3rd Lord in 1541, passed to his nephew, Patrick son and heir of Sir Gilbert Gray of Buttergask who received a charter in the following year from James V. Amongst the lands bestowed on him was a portion of the heritage of Lord Glamis, whose mother was executed for witchcraft on the Castle Hill of Edinburgh, and who was then imprisoned as a traitor and conspirator against the King. It is a curious twist of fate that the lands of Glamis bestowed on the Fourth Lord of Grey would one day return, back to the original line.

Before entering on his inheritance this Patrick was taken prisoner at the "Rout of the Solway" in 1542 and had to pay a heavy ransom to his captors. He next figures at a skirmish at Perth in 1544. John Charteris had been nominated to the office of Provost of Perth but on the advice of Cardinal Beaton the citizens of Perth would not hear of the nomination and with Lord Ruthven at their head, prevented Charteris from entering the town. Charteris being allied to Gray through marriage appealed to him for armed assistance. The attack on the town was a failure and Gray was arrested in Dundee by order of the Regent and was committed to Blackness Castle for a period. In return for this, Gray held aloof during the invasion of 1547 and would not joint the forces of the Regent. After the battle of Pinkie he was charged with having surrendered Broughty Castle to the English, from where they were able to erect a fort on Balgillo Hill. He was accused of treason and confined to Edinburgh Castle but he was not convicted and after a short duration was released. He had many similar adventures and was frequently in trouble through wavering between the English Party and the Scottish Crown. He married Marion on the 21st. September 1537, daughter of Lord Ogilvie of Cortachy and had six sons and seven daughters. Those particularly relevant to the history of the Carse were Patrick his heir; James who succeeded to Buttergask; and another Patrick who became Sir Patrick Gray of Invergowrie.

Patrick 5th Lord Gray, born 1538, held the title and lands from 1582 to 1609. Though his fame in public affairs is overshadowed by the activities of his son the famous "Master of Gray" he served twice as a Lord of Session and was a close friend of Queen Mary. After the death of the Dauphin it was to Lord Gray that she first wrote of her intention to return to Scotland. His marriage to Barbara daughter of William, Lord Ruthven resulted in ten children, the most noteworthy being, Patrick the heir and "Master of Gray".

The best known and most infamous member of the family was Patrick 6th Lord Gray, who as the notorious Master of Gray occupied a conspicuous place in the history of his time. As Lord Gray he held the title and lands for only three years from 1608 to 1611 and despite his chequered career, died in obscurity.

He was without doubt, the most interesting and yet the least commendable of the whole family. E.A. Urquhart noted of him that, "Scottish historians portray him in colours so odious that to find his parallel as a master of unprincipled statecraft we must search among the Machiavellian politicians of Italy ".

He was educated at St Andrews University but left there on his sixteenth birthday. Sent abroad by his father in order to extend his education and knowledge of foreign affairs, he travelled in France, Spain and Italy. Being a handsome youth with polished manners and a pleasant address he soon gained entrance to the highest circles. He lightly shook off his Protestantism at the French Court and associated himself with the Scottish Catholics in Paris. Utilising all his resources of charm to the full, he wormed his way into the confidence of the Duke of Guise, who was conducting a close correspondence with Mary Queen of Scots, then a captive in England. Young Gray was engaged by Guise in this delicate service whereby his name became favourably known to the unfortunate Queen.

While on the Continent, Gray who had developed an aptitude for intrigue, realised that he might profit by disclosing the secrets of Mary of Guise to their enemies and travelled back to Scotland, to be welcomed by the Earl of Arran, then the royal favourite. The Master of Gray, with his courtly accomplishment and wide experience of life soon made himself a close favourite of the young King. He was made a gentleman of the Bedchamber, Master of the King’s Wardrobe and a Privy Councillor and, in 1584 Commendator of Dunfermline Abbey.

Arran becoming jealous and suspicious of him, suggested that Gray should be sent as Ambassador to England, and so got him out of the way leaving Arran free to plot his own nefarious schemes. The young Master was thereby brought into contact with Queen Elizabeth, and as an unscrupulous opportunist soon saw where his own advantage lay. It was not long before he had an opportunity of conveying to her ears, his knowledge of the plotting that was going on by Queen Mary and Guise, unscrupulously stating that he did so by desire of the King of Scots. He urged that Elizabeth should get rid of Mary, while at the same time, acting the part of an agent provocateur, he made contact with Mary and posed as her friend.

After the execution of Queen Mary a great outcry broke out over the country. In the highly charged state of public feeling a scapegoat had to be found. The Master of Gray was exposed, arrested and brought to trial in the Castle of Edinburgh in May 1587. He was indicted of treason under six charges in which no mention was made of his dealing with Queen Elizabeth. He was condemned to death but through the advocacy of his relative the Earl of Huntly sentence was never carried out. He was banished from the country and divested of all offices held by him.

His term of banishment was short, for in 1589 he obtained permission from the King to return home for a time, but while he appeared at Court he did not regain any position or influence and he again withdrew to the Continent. While abroad in this latter period he carried on a correspondence with the King — preserved for us in the Moray Papers — with a view to reinstatement in the Royal favour. In the course of this correspondence he made pecuniary claims against the King. These claims were finally adjusted by Commissioners appointed for the purpose, who in 1606 found that 19,983 Scots was due by His Majesty and an order for payment was made accordingly. Royal favour continued to rest on him, for on his next return to Scotland, he was connected in several more despicable actions, but in all cases he managed to obtain a pardon from the King.

An incident very typical of his activities took place in 1599 when Lord Balmerino President of the Court of Session wrote to the Pope on behalf of his cousin, Sir Edward Drummond, requesting the elevation to the Cardinalate their kinsman, the Bishop of Vaison and containing complimentary references to his Holiness. This letter Balmerino managed to shuffle among other papers for the King’s signature, and the King ignorant of its contents innocently signed it. The Master of Gray, who was at that time in Rome, managed to get a copy of the letter and sent it to Queen Elizabeth, who at once reproached King James with conduct unworthy of a Protestant Prince. The King denied all knowledge of the letter and declared it to be a forgery by his enemies.

We come to one of the Master’s final and meanest acts which suggest he did not restrict his avarice to his public life. In the year 1607, one year before his death. Lord Gray, then a very old man made complaint to the King of his son’s behaviour. His Majesty wrote to the Council in Scotland — "Patrick Lord Gray is havelie complenit to him against his sone the Maister of Gray for not only having brought his wife and familie into the said Lord’s hoose, consumed thairby all that mean portion that he had reservit for his awne use and intromissed with his maillis, fermes and duties, but also preising verie unnaturallie to accelerat his faderis grey hams to the grave with sorrow, by removal of all the auld servandis in no way gevis the auld man ony contentment". By His Majesty’s instructions the Lords of Council directed a commission to the Commendator of Holyrude House to repair to Lord Gray’s house and make enquiry. The Commendatore gave the Master fifteen days to clear out and restore all rents, for the intromission with which he had no warrant, under pain of the charge of Rebellion.

In 1575 he had married Elizabeth Lyon daughter of Lord Glamis but with no heir divorced her on 21st. May 1585. A second marriage took place to Mary Stewart daughter of the Earl of Orkney on 25th. November 1585. By this second wife he had, Andrew his heir and six daughters all of whom continued the family tradition of marrying well.

Periodically, previous to Andrew the seventh Lord of Gray’s succession, various portions of the estates had been disposed of, to raise funds in order to provide dowries for the many daughters and to clear heavy debts on the estate. Possibly for this reason and no doubt to escape the distress of his father’s notoriety, he chose a military career and became heavily engaged in the French wars. This was to be the last chapter the Lords Gray would feature in the Castle Huntly tale, but there is an interesting postscript. In addition to the disposal of Castle Huntly for 40,000 marks to the first Earl of Kinghorn, Andrew sold the Heritable Sheriffship of Forfarshire to Charles I for 50,000 marks which were never paid.

The Lyons of Glamis (1614 to 1776)

As the Lyons of Glamis already held lands in Longforgan and the Mains at the Castle partly through the dower of Elizabeth, daughter of the second Lord Gray who married John, 6th Lord Glamis in 1487, and partly through mortgages to Patrick 9th Lord Glamis and first Earl of Kinghorne, born 1575, the latter purchased the Castle and whole estates for 40,000 Merks in 1614.

Patrick only lived one year after that date, but had commenced to repair the castle which had fallen into a bad condition during the occupancy of the last few Grays. As his grandson stated in his Book of Record:- "It was a place of no consideration, fitt for nothing else but as a place of refuge in time of trouble, wherein a man might make himselfe a prisoner; and in the meantime might therein be protected from a flying partie, but was never of any strength, or to have been accounted a stronghold to endure a siege, or a place capable to hold so many as with necessarie provisions could hold out long, or by salleys to doe much prejudice to an enemie, and such houses truly are worn quyt out of fashione, as feuds are, which is a great happiness, the cuntrie being generally more civilized than it was of ancient times, and my owne opinion, when troublesome times are, it is more safe for a man to keep the feilds than to inclose himselfe in the walls of a house, so that there is no man more against these old fashion of tours and castles than I am and I wish everie man who has such houses would reform them for who can delight to live in his house as in a prisone".

Patrick married Lady Anna Murray daughter of the Earl of Tulliebardine, died in 1615 and was succeeded by his son John, born 1596.

John the second Earl of Kinghorne did not distinguish himself, being considered as a weak sort of fellow who fell under the influence of his first wife, Lady Margaret Erskine, and that of his younger brother James Lyon of Aldbar who embroiled him in many adventures which greatly reduced his resources. Of John it is said that, "he came to his inheritance the wealthiest peer in Scotland and left the poorest". He was over obliging to his relations and friends, taking on heavy obligations in bonds and cautions which plunged his affairs deeply into debt. In addition, he developed a great friendship with James Graham, Marquis of Montrose. Montrose was at first a fierce Covenanter but later became more of a Royalist. There came a point when John’s conscience forced him to part company with Montrose who changed sides and took up arms against the Covenanters. John, who felt deserted considered that he had a moral obligation to the Covenanters cause, and contributed towards financing the army against his old friend Montrose, in the process committing himself to crippling debt.

He did, however, continue the work of restoration of Castle Huntly. His son crediting him with "an inteer new roofe upon the castle, which beforehand had ane scurvie battlement".

His first wife Margaret Erskine was the daughter of the Earl of Mar and his second Elizabeth daughter of the Earl of Panmure. He died of the plague at St Andrews on 12th. May 1646 where he had gone to nurse his ward, the Earl of Errol and was succeeded by his only son Patrick, born 29th. May 1642 and by then only four years of age.

Patrick the third Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne grew up to be one of the most remarkable members of the Lyon family. He was a man of extremely fine character with strong determination to do the right by his family and estates and was gifted with an exceptional administrative ability.

The long period of dissentions and unrest that affected Scotland for thirty years preceding the Restoration told severely on the estates. Both his grandfather and his father had been compelled to raise large sums of money for the exigencies of war by borrowing upon the security of their properties. Most lands were pledged in some form to creditors throughout the land. The Castle of Glamis was denuded of furniture and allowed to get into a state of disrepair and Castle Huntly was almost uninhabitable. Thus when Earl Patrick came into his inheritance, it was to shoulder a heavy burden with debts about 40,000, an enormous sum in these days.

The young Earl’s guardian was unwilling to undertake the rescue of a property so deeply involved. He was advised that his estates were irrecoverable, but his uncle, the Earl of Panmure did much to preserve a remnant sufficient to start him in life, though quite inadequate to his rank in Society. It is testament to his tenacity that after 40 years of hard work he once again restored his estates to solvency.

Castle Huntly had been made the jointure house of the family and he stayed there with his mother. In 1650 when the boy was only eight years of age his mother was married for the second time to the Earl of Linlithgow who treated his stepson with harsh cruelty. After his wife’s death this Earl compelled the repayment of all monies expended by her on the young heir out of her jointure income.

Having completed his studies at St Andrews the young Earl returned to his castle at Huntly in 1660, in his eighteenth year, and even at that age had formed his resolution to restore as far as possible the honour and estates of his family. The lamentable condition in which he found the castle he graphically describes in the Book of Record: "I had a verie hard beginning, there was not even a bed in the castle and I had to borrow one from the minister at Longforgan, while I was awaiting the arrival of my humble student’s furniture from St Andrews." His stepfather had stripped the house of all furniture. The barns byres and stables were empty and as he puts it — "Att that time I was not worth a four-footed beast safe the little dog that I keepit att and brought with me from St Andrews." He described the pend and entry as a quagmire as was the most part of the enclosed ground besouth it. Inside, conditions were not much better with only bare walls.

The 3rd Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne

His sister Lady Elizabeth Lyon and he began their first attempt at housekeeping on a most parsimonious scale. Having scrambled together some old pots and pans and collected some old furniture, they began with their own hands to decorate their lonely dwelling and make it habitable for the time. In the Glamis Book of Record, Patrick writes of his sister some twenty-five years afterwards — "Her company was of great comfort to me so young as we both were. We consulted together and in two years got together as much coarse furniture as in a verie mean and sober way filled all the rooms of my house some way or other."

His sister remained with him until his marriage in 1662 to Helen daughter of John, Lord Middleton Royal Commissioner for Scotland. The marriage took place at Holyrude Abbey Archbishop Sharpe officiating. In his writing 25 years later, it was considered by him to be — verie successful.

Lady Elizabeth LyonHe brought his wife home to Castle Huntly in 1663 and set about altering and improving the buildings and policies and the status of the family. Thus in 1672 he obtained a Charter from Charles II erecting the lands of Castle Huntly into a free Barony to be called the "The Lordship of Lyon", and it was then that he changed the name to Castle Lyon. Similarly in 1677 another Charter provided that in future the Earls of Kinghorne should be styled "Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, Viscounts Lyon and Barons Glamis, Tannadyce, Sidlaw and Strathdichtie".

He was a nobleman who shone as a patron of the arts and devoted his life to improving and beautifying his domains. He was a Privy Councillor and Lord of the Treasury and in 1686 an Extraordinary Senator of the College of Justice. The entries in his Book of Record show that he was a master of finance. At the time of his death in 1695 in his 53rd year he had cleared most of the debt on his estates and had made considerable alterations and additions to his castle at Glamis as well as at Castle Lyon.

John, 4th Earl of StrathmoreHis two daughters both married members of the local nobility and his eldest son John, born 1663, succeeded as fourth Earl of Strathmore.

The fourth Earl, though a man of considerable talent and a Privy Councillor in the reign of Queen Anne took relatively little part in public affairs. By his marriage with Lady Elizabeth Stanhope daughter of the Earl of Chesterfield he had six sons. Two of whom became Lord Glamis, both predeceasing their father, and four other brothers who succeeded to the Earldom in turn, the eighth Earl and youngest son being the only one who had an heir.

John the third son and fifth Earl was to display the family’s royalist sympathies when he joined the Jacobite cause, and on the breaking out of the Mar rebellion, although only eighteen years of age, raised a regiment in Angus and took an active part in the campaign. He was slain at the battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715.

Charles, the fourth son and sixth Earl was not directly implicated in the rebellion and although both his family seats were visited by the Old Pretender, James VIII and III he was not disturbed in his rights. In 1725 he married Lady Susan Cochrane daughter of John Earl of Dundonald who was considered to be the most beautiful woman of her day in Scotland. Earl Charles was killed in an unfortunate brawl at Forfar by Carnegie of Finavon in May 1728 and left no heir.

James the next in succession died without issue in 1735.

Thomas was the last of the four brothers. Notwithstanding the Jacobite antecedents of his family he refrained from that cause in 1745. For a time he was MP for Angus. He died in 1753. His son John succeeded.

In general these later Earls lie outside our immediate theme for Castle Huntly being the jointure house was mostly occupied by the widows of various Earls. Thus Lady Susan the widow of Charles sixth Earl resided at Castle Huntly for seventeen years after her husband’s death in 1728. Later she made an unfortunate second marriage and left for the Continent where she died in 1754.

The ninth and tenth Earls must be mentioned, partly because of a marriage which was destined to have an historic outcome and partly because with the tenth Earl the family link with Castle Huntly ceased. John the ninth Earl of Strathmore was only sixteen when he succeeded. Thirteen years later, in 1767 he married Miss Mary Eleanor Bowes of Streatham, a great Durham heiress, who inherited a large fortune and great estates from her father, and with this John assumed the name of Bowes Lyon. He died on a health cruise to Lisbon in 1776 leaving three sons and two daughters.

The heir another John was seven years old at his father’s death. He can have known little or nothing of Castle Huntly for his mother Countess Bowes Lyon removed at once to London and the Castle and its estates were sold.

The Patersons (1777-1946)

George PatersonGeorge Paterson, who was born in Dundee in 1734 and having studied medicine began his working life as a member of the medical faculty. Later he was to serve in India as official secretary to Sir Robert Harland where he displayed great diplomatic and administrative talent. The great contest between France and England for supremacy in Hindustan was then at its peak, and the victories of Clive over Dupleix were looked upon, even by British statesmen as merely accidental triumphs. After Clive’s daring exploits in Ascot, where from that spot the terror of his name was to spread across India, he placed Mahammed Ali on the throne as Nawab. Paterson, who displayed a considerable administrative capacity, was to support Sir Robert in the important negotiations and diplomacy necessary in settling and defending the Nawab of Arcot.

Paterson amassed a large fortune in the East India Company and returned to Scotland in 1776 and in the November of that year was to marry Anne, youngest daughter of John, 12th Baron Gray. It is said that when a friend of the family remarked to Lord Gray that he was surprised at the engagement of his daughter to a commoner, Lord Gray replied — "Weel, she has the bluid and he has the fillings, so between them they will mak a guid puddin."

Paterson purchased the Castle and estates of Castle Lyon at the price of 40,000 being as many pounds sterling as the 40,000 merks (about 2,200) which Earl Kinghorne paid in 1614. In honour of his wife who was a direct descendant of the long line of Grays who had owned the castle, he changed the name back to Castle Huntly.

When Paterson took over the castle it was in a very dilapidated condition and the alterations which the Lyons had made were quite out of date. He spent vast sums of money in repairs and additions, building the fine Georgian wings to the NE side. The Old Statistical Account records. "The wings, embattled walls, round tower and corner turrets were added to the original building by him and many improvements were effected in the interior making very fashionable apartments suitable for modern requirements."

Paterson was a man of great ability and many interests. He was a pioneer in agriculture, most notable for two developments. He is credited with introducing the steam melon pit to the gardens, and in 1788 is reputed with the inauguration of the first threshing mill in the area. He was greatly interested in education and gave a yearly allowance of 30 to increase the salary of the local schoolmaster to 50 per annum; made an allowance to pay the fees of poor scholars; presented Bibles, Testaments and prizes to poor scholars and in 1825 set up a new school. He was good to the tenants in the village and the workers on his estate. During the winter following the bad harvest of 1795 he and Lord Kinnaird obtained 400 quarters of mealing oats from England which were supplied free to the poor. His presence was felt in Dundee where in 1775 he presented three lustres to the Town House; in 1776 he was Master of St David’s Lodge of Freemasons at the laying of the foundation stone of Trades Hall and in 1777 Deacon of the Nine Trades and the Weavers.

By his marriage with the Hon. Anne Gray he had seven sons and three daughters. He died in 1817 having reached his 83rd. year.

All of the first laird’s sons with the exception of one who died in infancy chose careers of adventurous activity and attained distinction in the Army or the Navy as the following summary indicates:- George (Jan. 1778-1846) who succeeded to the estates was Colonel of the 3rd Foot Guards and was at Waterloo; John (Dec. 1778-1858) was a Captain in the Royal Navy; David (1781-1813) holding rank as Lt Colonel in the 53rd Rifles was Aide-de-camp to Lord Raglan during the Peninsular War and fell in action at Vittoria; William (1783-1838) was a Captain in the Royal Navy; James (1785-1856) was a Captain in the service of the East India Company and spent his life where his father had won distinction.

Colonel George Paterson born 1778, died 1846, was laird for twenty-nine years but spent most of his life in the Army. His son George, born 15th. June 1819 succeeded in 1846. This George Paterson after taking his degree as M.A. was admitted, in 1842 as an advocate at the Scottish Bar. He took a keen interest in the estate and became an authority on the subject of Firs. His writings upon questions connected with agriculture and the law aroused great interest and are still quoted as authoritative. George Paterson died on 25th. February 1867.

George Frederick son of the third laird succeeded in 1867. There is not much known about this fourth laird as it appears that he left the district and the Castle and policies were leased to Mr J Martin White whose family were the Whites of Balruddery. On his death in 1890, George Fredrick bequeathed the estates to his younger brother, Charles James George Paterson.

In 1886 the castle and policies were leased to Lady Annitstead who remained there until her death in 1913. While not an owner she did a lot to improve the castle and grounds and was responsible for the opening of the new avenue to the main road west of the village. She maintained a large staff at the castle and was a generous benefactress to the district. She bore the cost of the erection of the fine church of St Columba at Invergowrie.

Although Castle Huntly estate was one of the richest in the carse Charles lived principally in Palmerston Place in Edinburgh, and the castle being let, had a cottage in Longforgan in which he stayed when visiting the district. He died in Edinburgh on 24th. July 1937 at the age of 79, leaving practically the whole of his estate to charity, and by his will dated December 1936, he directed the trustees to sell the lands of Castle Huntly.

On the 18th March 1919 the whole estate including the village of Longforgan was put up for sale in the Royal Hotel in Dundee. Previous to the sale most of the farms and the cottages in the village were sold privately and a large portion of land was purchased by the Board of Agriculture as a centre for small-holdings for exservice men. The castle and policies were put up separately and were purchased for 6,400 by an estate agent from Edinburgh on behalf of Mr Charles Paterson the former owner who retained them until his death in 1937.

As he had never married he was succeeded by a distant cousin Colonel Adrian Gordon Paterson DSO, MC. This the last laird carried out many improvements at the castle in anticipation of taking up residence but died three years after succeeding in 1940 having never resided in the castle proper. His heir a young lad had been drowned in a tragic yachting accident in the Tay and the family moved to London.

State Ownership (1946— Present)

A new chapter was to begin for Castle Huntly. With the outbreak of war it was sequestered for a war residence by a Girls’ Probation School. and for a few months was a convalescent home for War wounded. When the girls vacated the castle in 1946 it was sold to the State by the widow of Colonel Adrian where it was converted by the Scottish Home and Health Department as an open Borstal for Boys, the first fifteen to arrive on the on 21st. April 1947. Within two years Castle Huntly was to begin its first social experiment by taking boys described as bruisable. These were often young men who had experienced deprivation during childhood and were suffering the physical manifestations of such conditions. The healthy environment was seen as an opportunity for them to develop both physically and mentally. The rich parklands were ideal for all sorts of outdoor pursuits, as well as for the cultivation of soft fruits and vegetables. The stout castle, with its many rooms was found to be just as secure from the inside, as the Grays constructed it to provide security from the outside.

The castle with its irregular rooms and complexity of staircases was not ideally suited for its purpose, and by 1972, it was clear that the level of development, necessary to comply with fire regulations was uneconomic and impractical. The authorities took the decision, to relocate the living accommodation down to the flat lands in the south-west shadow of the castle. At that time an opportunity was taken to increase the living accommodation to 144. The castle was to retain the role of the administrative centre for the establishment.

Changing penal policy was to see the demise of Borstal Training and in 1984 Castle Huntly was once more at the forefront of experiment in becoming Scotland’s only open Young Offender Institution. This was to follow similar traditions to that of Borstal training but with more emphasis on vocational training. A new workshop was constructed for the training of engineering skills and trades such as car mechanics, welding and spray painting were taught.

The hand of change, never far from Castle Huntly, was once again to descend in 1995. With a diminishing demand for Young Offender spaces, Castle Huntly was to become an Open Prison for male adults (over 21) serving sentences of up to two years. This, in effect, meant that they would only be at Castle Huntly for a few months. There would be no fence or wall and prisoners would be expected to act as responsible citizens.

To date this new venture is proving successful, with a dynamic and evolving regime designed to meet the needs of an ever changing population. As to the future, who can tell. All that one can say is that Castle Huntly will perpetuate, for it is doubtful if anyone can claim ownership of such a history. We merely hold it in trust for future generations.


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