The earliest parts of Fyvie Castle date from the 13th century – some sources claim it was built in 1211 by William the Lion. Fyvie was the site of an open-air court held by Robert the Bruce, and Charles I lived there as a child. Following the Battle of Otterburn in 1390, it ceased to be a royal stronghold and instead fell into the possession of five successive families – Preston, Meldrum, Seton, Gordon and Leith – each of whom added a new tower to the castle. The oldest of these, the Preston tower (located on the far right as one faces the main facade of Fyvie), dates to between 1390 and 1433. The impressive Seton tower forms the entrance, and was erected in 1599 by Alexander Seton; Seton also commissioned the great processional staircase several years later. The Gordon tower followed in 1778 , and the Leith in 1890.
Inside, the castle stronghold features a great wheel stair, a display of original arms and armour, and a collection of portraits.
Manus O'Cahan and Montrose fought a successful minor battle against the Covenant Army at Fyvie Castle on October 28, 1644. The battlefield is currently under research to be inventoried and protected by Historic Scotland under the Scottish Historical Environment Policy of 2009. Following Victorian trends, the grounds and adjoining Loch Fyvie were landscaped in the 19th century. The Scottish industrialist Alexander Leith (later Baron Leith of Fyvie) bought the castle in 1885. It was sold to the National Trust for Scotland in 1984 by his descendants.
The castle (like many Scottish castles) is said to be haunted. A story is told that in 1920 during renovation work the skeleton of a woman was discovered behind a bedroom wall. On the day the remains were laid to rest in Fyvie cemetery, the castle residents started to be plagued by strange noises and unexplained happenings. Fearing he had offended the dead woman, the Laird of the castle had the skeleton exhumed and replaced behind the bedroom wall, at which point the haunting ceased. It is said that there is a secret room in the south-west corner of the castle that must remain sealed, lest anyone entering meet with disaster. It's not clear if this is the same room in which the skeleton was found. There is also an indelible blood stain, two ghosts and two curses associated with this place. One of the curses has been attributed to the prophetic laird, Thomas the Rhymer.
In the Media
Fyvie Castle has featured in a number of British television programmes, such as Living TV's Most Haunted season 6. and stv's Castles of Scotland. The castle also played host of the setting of a children's gameshow on CBBC called Spook Squad in 2004. 2009 saw the publication of the children's fantasy novel, The Time-Tailor and the Fyvie Castle Witch Trials, written by Deborah Leslie.
In recent years, the castle grounds have hosted an annual Fyvie Live music festival in August, which was headlined in 2011 by Beverley Knight and in 2012 by Sophie Ellis Bextor. Another annual event was a 5K fun run around the grounds and adjacent loch, held in April, however both of these events were discontinued in 2013.
Today, the castle is open to tourists during the summer months.