Findlater Castle

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Findlater Castle.
Findlater Castle is located in the United Kingdom
Findlater Castle
Findlater Castle shown within the United Kingdom
(grid reference NJ541672)

Findlater Castle is the old seat of the Earls of Findlater and Seafield, sitting on a 50-foot (15 m)-high cliff overlooking the Moray Firth on the coast of Banff and Buchan, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It lies about 15 km (9.3 mi) west of Banff, near the village of Sandend, between Cullen and Portsoy. The cliffs here contain quartz; the name "Findlater" is derived from the Scots Gaelic words fionn ("white") and leitir ("cliff or steep slope").

The first historical reference to the castle is from 1246. King Alexander III of Scotland repaired this castle in the 1260s in preparation for an invasion by King Haakon IV of Norway. The Vikings took and held the castle for some time. The castle remains that are still there are from the 14th-century rebuilding, when the castle was redesigned based on the Roslyn Castle model.

James V of Scotland visited Findlater in November 1535 after a pilgrimage to Tain.[1] In September 1562 Mary, Queen of Scots sent an army equipped with artillery from Dunbar Castle to besiege Findlater, which was held against her by John Gordon of Findlater, a son of the Earl of Huntly.[2] When Mary was nearby on 20 September, she had sent her trumpeter messenger to deliver the castle to the captain of her guard, but he was refused.[3] The previous Laird of Findlater, an Ogilvy, had been a Master of Household to Mary of Guise. He lost his inheritance following sexual misconduct with his mother-in-law and making a plan to imprison his father in a cellar to deprive him of sleep and drive him insane to obtain his lands. After his father's death his mother married John Gordon, who then took possession of the castle and lands, and promptly imprisoned her.[4] In October the Earl of Huntly sent Mary the keys of Findlater and Auchindoun, but she was suspicious of the low status of the messenger.[5]

The castle is a scheduled monument.[6]


  1. ^ National Records of Scotland, Household books, E32/4.
  2. ^ Joseph Bain, Border Papers, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1894), p. 1.
  3. ^ Joseph Bain, Calendar State Papers Scotland, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1898), p. 653.
  4. ^ Joseph Bain, Calendar State Papers Scotland, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1898), pp. 655-6.
  5. ^ Joseph Bain, Calendar State Papers Scotland, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1898), p. 658
  6. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Findlater Castle (SM2846)". Retrieved 8 March 2019.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 57°41′32.60″N 2°46′13.47″W / 57.6923889°N 2.7704083°W / 57.6923889; -2.7704083