Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle is situated beside the village of Glamis (pronounced Glämz (in )) in Angus, Scotland. It is the home of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and is open to the public. Glamis Castle was the childhood home of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, best known as the Queen Mother. Her daughter, Princess Margaret, was born there. A picture of the castle is featured on the Royal Bank of Scotland ten pound note.

The plasterwork ceilings of Glamis are noteworthy for their detail and preservation. Along with those of Muchalls Castle and Craigievar Castle, they are considered the finest in Scotland.

The castle features extensively in fiction and legend, and according to local legend has more dark secrets than any other castle in Scotland.


Glamis is set in the broad and fertile lowland valley of Strathmore, near Forfar, capital of Angus, which lies between the Sidlaw Hills to the south and the Grampian Mountains to the north, approximately 20 kilometres inland from the North Sea.

The estate surrounding the castle covers more than 14,000 acres (57 km²) and, in addition to the garden containing lush gardens and walking trails, produces several cash crops including lumber and beef. The two streams run through the estate, one of them the Glamis Burn. An arboretum overlooking Glamis Burn features trees from all over the world, many of them rare and several hundred years old. Birds and other small wildlife are common throughout the grounds.

There is a tea room in the castle, and part of the gardens and grounds are open to the public. The venue can be hired for functions like dinners and weddings.


The vicinity of Glamis Castle has prehistoric traces; for example, a noted intricately carved Pictish stone known as the Eassie Stone was found in a creek-bed at the nearby village of Eassie. In 1034 AD Máel Coluim II was murdered at Glamis. Since 1372 Glamis Castle itself was home to the Lords of Glamis (later the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne).

Legends and tales

The most famous legend connected with the castle is that of the Monster of Glamis, a hideously deformed child born to the family. In the story, the monster was kept in the castle all his life and his suite of rooms bricked up after his death. Another monster is supposed to have dwelt in Loch Calder near the castle.

An alternate version of the legend is that to every generation of the family a vampire child is born and is walled up in that room.

There is an old story that guests staying at Glamis once hung towels from the windows of every room in a bid to find the bricked-up suite of the monster. When they looked at it from outside, several windows were apparently towel-less.

The legend of the monster may have been inspired by the true story of the Ogilvies. Somewhere in the sixteen-foot thick walls is the famous room of skulls, where the Ogilvie family, who sought protection from their enemies the Lindsays, were walled up to die of starvation.

According to the official website for Glamis castle, in 1034, King Malcolm II was mortally wounded in a nearby battle and taken to a Royal Hunting Lodge, which sat at the site of the present Castle, where he died.

There is a small chapel within the castle with seating for 46 people. The story given to visitors by castle tour guides states that one seat in the chapel is always reserved for the "Grey Lady" (supposedly a ghost which inhabits the castle), thought to be Janet Douglas, Lady Glamis. According to the guides, the chapel is still used regularly for family functions, but regardless, no one is allowed to sit in that seat.

The late Sir David Bowes-Lyon, while taking a late stroll on the lawn after dinner, reportedly saw a girl gripping the bars of a castle window and staring distractedly into the night. He was about to speak to her when she abruptly disappeared, as if someone had torn her away from the window.

Earl Beardie was a guest in Glamis Castle. One night he was drunk and demanded to play cards. It was the sabbath, and his hosts refused. Lord Beardie was so furious that he claimed that he would play with the Devil himself. A stranger turned up at the castle and enquired if Lord Beardie wanted a partner to play cards with. They began to play in one of the rooms. Later, the servants heard yelling and curses coming from the room. One peeped through the keyhole, and the story goes that a blast of light through that keyhole blinded him. The stranger disappeared,taking the Earl's soul with him.

Many have claimed to hear shouting and the sound of dice rolling. It is claimed that the Earl is still playing cards with the Devil.

Glamis in fiction

In William Shakespeare's play Macbeth, the titular character resides at Glamis Castle, although the historical King Macbeth of Scotland had no connection to the castle. The "Monster of Glamis" appears in several works, including a comic book by Grant Morrison from the series The Invisibles, and the 1953 3D Hollywood horror film The Maze. Glamis Castle is featured in the Kelley Armstrong fantasy novel Haunted. The legend of the Monster of Glamis is in this novel related to the demon Dantalian.

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