Gordon Castle

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Gordon Castle, the Scottish seat of the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, in Bellie parish, at the mutual border of Banff and Elgin shires, 5 furlongs E of the Spey's right bank and 1 mile NNE of Fochabers. Alexander Seton, elder son of the daughter and heiress of Sir Adam Gordon, took the name of Gordon in 1449, when he was made first Earl of Huntly. He acquired, through marriage, the lands of Bogygeich or Bog-of-Gight; and by his son and successor, George, high chancellor of Scotland in 1498, Bog-of-Gight Castle was founded. Richard Franck describes it in the 17th century as a 'palace all built with stone, facing the ocean; whose fair front-set prejudice aside-worthily deserves an Englishman's applause for her lofty and majestic turrets, that storm the air and seemingly make dints in the very clouds.'As Bog-of-Gight the castle figures in the history of the six Earls of Huntly (1449-1599) and the four Marquises of Huntly (1599-1684), as Gordon Castle in that of the five Dukes of Gordon (1684-1836), the fourth of whom was author of Cauld Kail in Aberdeen, while his butler, William Marshall, composed the famous air of Tullochgorum. The'Cocks of the North' or'Gudemen of the Bog,'as these northern magnates were styled, were a dynasty famous for adherence to the Catholic faith and to the house of Stewart; their names are associated with those of Brechin (1452), Flodden (1513), Pinkie (1547), Corrichie (1562), Donibristle (1592), Glenlivet (1594), Frendraught (1630), Edinburgh Castle (1689), and Sheriffmuir (1715). The dukedom expired with the fifth Duke in 1836, when the marquisate of Huntly devolved on his fifth cousin once removed, the Earl of Aboynel but the greater part of the Gordon estates were inherited by his maternal nephew, Charles, fifth Duke of Richmond and Lennox (cre. 1675). In 1876 the title Duke of Gordon, in the peerage of the United Kingdom, was revived in favour of Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, present and sixth Duke of Richmond (b. 1818; suc. 1860), who holds 269,291 acres in Scotland, valued at £60,390 per annum, viz-, 159,951 in Banffshire (£23,842), 69, 660 in Aberdeenshire (£24,748), 12,271 in Elginshire (£10,618), and 27, 409 in Inverness-shire (£1182).

Almost rebuilt by the fourth Duke of Gordon toward's the close of last century, from designs by Baxter of Edinburgh, and consisting of hard white Elgin freestone, Gordon Castle presents a northern façade 568 feet long-a four-storied centre, connected by galleries with E and W two-storied wings. The whole is battlemented; and, behind, the original six-storied tower of Bog-of-Gight rises to a height of 84 feet. The interior contains a valuable library, magnificent dining and drawing rooms, etc.; and is richly adorned with marble statues and busts, portraits, and other paintings. The family portraits include one of the Princess Annabella, James I-,s daughter and second Countess of Huntly, and another, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, of the beautiful fourth Duchess. A beech, a lime-tree, and two sycamores divide the honours of the beautifully-wooded deer-park and policies, the former 1300 acres in extent. The chief approach, on the high road between the Spey and Fochabers, is by a lofty battlemented archway between two domes. Thence the road winds for a mile through lawn and. shrubbery and spreading trees until it is lost in an oval before the castle, which, though it stands on a flat nearly 4 miles distant from the Moray Firth, commands a finer view than one might look for-of the wooded plain, the- Spey glittering onwards to the sea, and the village and shipping of Garmouth--Ord. Sur., sh. 95, 1876See Huntly, Aboyne, and Alviel the History of the Family of Gordon, by William Gordon (2 vols-, Edinb-, 1726-27) and C. A. Gordon (Edinb. 1754); and Lachlan Shaw's History of the Province of Moray (1775; 3d ed-, Glasg-, 1882).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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