Delgatie Castle

(Delgaty Castle)

Situated 2 miles (3 km) east of Turriff in N Aberdeenshire, Delgatie (or Delgaty) Castle comprises a 16th century white-harled five-storey tower with later extensions. The core dates from c.1050 but the castle was rebuilt in 1570-9 with exceptional strong walls, 2.4 - 4.3m (8 - 14 feet) in thickness. The walls contains a 1.5-m (5-foot) wide turnpike stair and the vaulted basement contains the old kitchen with its large fireplace. A gabled house was built adjacent at the same time. Fine tempera-painted ceilings dating from 1592 and 1597 can still be seen on the second floor. Wings were added in 1769, comprising a chapel and doocot to the west and the kitchen and servants' quarters to the east. The castle was extended once again in the 19th century.

Delgatie began as the property of the Comyn Earls of Buchan, but was forfeited to the Crown following their support for Edward II at Bannockburn. It passed to the Hays in the 14th century and that family were created the Earls of Errol in 1452. Mary, Queen of Scots, spent three days here in 1562. James VI destroyed part of the castle in 1594 because Francis Hay, the 9th Earl of Erroll (c.1564 - 1631), took part in a rebellion with the Earl of Huntly. The Hays were Jacobites and lost their castle after the '45. It was bought in 1762 by Peter Garden of Troup whose son sold it on to James Duff, 2nd Earl of Fife (1729 - 1809). Delgatie was used by the army between 1940 to 1946 and lay uninhabited for some years thereafter, slowly decaying. Captain Hay of Delgatie purchased the castle in a sad state and went on to undertake an extensive restoration.

The Clan Hay Centre opened here in 1948 and the castle is open to visitors, although it is said to be haunted by a particularly frightening apparition.

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