Castle Roy History
Castle Roy would have been built towards the end of the Norman colonisation of Scotland.
The size indicates that it would have been a staging post and rest point for hunting forays in to the Abernethy Forests. Its four thick stone walls would have supported smaller timber buildings inside which have long since decayed. These would have included the Clan Chief’s dwelling, possessions, food, animals military retainers and servants.
Shapes in the walls in the garde-robe area show the Chieftain’s latrine, while above, includes passages led to two other latrine area. There is a corner tower which would have had two floors in which the window opening remains.
The stones making up the walls do not show any tool marks and are likely to be glacial boulders collected locally. The walls are 25 ft high and 7 ft thick and the lime used to create the mortar was created at one of the many local lime kiln sites and the mortar itself, with charcoal fragments, remains very strong after 800 years. The walls enclose a courtyard 80ft x 53ft.
It is one of the oldest castles of its type in Scotland unique in that it is largely unaltered, whilst most other castles have been extensively modified over the centuries. Little is known about the castle’s origins because all records for the area were lost when the Wolf of Badenoch razed Elgin Cathedral.
In 1548 the Castle was named in the Charter of the Earldom of Moray and therefore possibly it was still in use, although in the era of gunpowder will only have been of use as a fortified shelter.
On Timothy Pont’s map of about 1583 he gave Castle Roy the name of Abyrnathy Castle.
The owners and occupiers of Castle Roy
William 1 (1142 – 1214) ‘The Lion’, Uilliam mac Eanric (i.e. William, son of Henry) reigned as King of Scots when Castle Roy is considered to have been built.
1210 – William Comyn married second wife Marjory, Heiress of Buchan
1220s – Son Walter was Lord of Badenoch and Kincardine
1257 – Walter succeeded by nephew John ‘The Black’ (Black Comyn).
1274 – John The Red succeeded by his son another John ‘The Red’.
1306 – John The Red (Red Comyn) murdered by Robert the Bruce at Dumfries.
1381 – John Comyn gave up Abernethy to King Robert at Montrose in 1381.
1381 – King Robert’s son Alexander became the feared ‘Wolf of Badenoch.’
1420 – Clan Grant consolidate their hold over the whole area, including Castle Grant.
1954 – The Revack Estate passed to Lady Pauline Ogilvy-Grant-Nicholson covering much of the land south of the Spey near Grantown-on-Spey.
1994 – The process of buying the Castle as a Trust began.
1998 – Castle Roy became a Charitable Trust
2012 – The work of consolidating the Castle started in earnest
2018 – Free access was made available to the grounds of the Castle. The Matrimonial Meadow and Bard’s Bowl are ready for events or just enjoy the view from the Panoramic Picnic Point.
Tartans of the Clans connected with Castle Roy
This is a Grant Tartan copied from an image from Lord Strathspey which he wishes to be the official Clan one.
Comyn/Cumming John, Lord of Badenoch.
The Red Comyn fought Robert the Bruce for the Scottish throne and died in the attempt. The Comyns of Altyre became Chiefs of the Clan. The true origins of the tartan are unknown as the claims of antiquity made in the Vestiarium Scoticum, where this version of the tartan was first recorded, are unreliable.
If you wish to help us secure this important part of the history of Scotland, Clan Grant & Clan Comyn you can do so through GoFundMe.
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