The Rich History Of Glamis Castle
In 1034, Malcolm II was murdered at the Lyon family castle, where there was a Royal Hunting Lodge. And with the history of Glamis Castle starting with a grizzly murder, it begs the question: Is there any doubt that it may just be one of the most haunted castles in the UK?
The castle’s true history with the Lyon (later the Bowes-Lyon) family began in 1372. When Robert II granted Glamis Castle to Sir John Lyon. He was the Thane of Glamis, married to the king’s daughter. In fact, the title “Lord Glamis” was created for Sir John Lyon in 1445. The castle has remained in the Lyon family’s possession ever since.
Of course, the castle had its fair share of dramatic events. One of which was the accusation of witchcraft and treason brought against Janet Douglas, the wife of the 6th Lord Glamis. Janet was eventually burned at the stake in 1537, after which James V seized the castle and lived there for some time.
Renovations at the castle
Glamis Castle was initially built as an L-plan tower house in the early 15th century. Over the centuries, the medieval castle underwent extensive restorations. And renovations resulted in its current appearance as a French chateau that is complete with lion symbols, which were the emblems of the Lyon family.
In the 17th century, soldiers were garrisoned at Glamis during the Commonwealth period. Then, throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, even more improvements to the castle took place. These renovations included the creation of a Baroque garden. And the remodelling of the south-west wing after an unfortunate fire.
Glamis Castle has some significant royal connections. Starting with Lady Elizabeth (‘the Queen Mother’) Bowes-Lyon, born at Glamis in 1900. The castle served as the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth, who was said to be enamoured with the old building.
Later, the castle served as a military hospital during World War I. Then, continuing to play a role in the Queen Mother’s family story.
In 1923, HM Queen Elizabeth married Prince Albert, the Duke of York, who later became King George VI. The couple started their own family. And Elizabeth’s children called her prized castle their childhood home, just as their mother had. Princess Margaret, sister to Queen Elizabeth II and the second daughter of the Queen Mother was born at Glamis Castle in 1930.
The Many Ghosts Of Glamis Castle
Whether you’re a curious paranormal enthusiast or an experienced ghost hunter, you’ve likely heard at least one of the tales of the spirits who haunt Glamis Castle from those who have visited the village of Glamis.
Before exploring the castle, we’d recommend getting your ghost-hunting equipment together. This hotbed of paranormal phenomena won’t disappoint! And, if you’re lucky, you’ll have plenty of evidence of one of the stronghold’s most famous spectres.
Janet Douglas, known as Lady Glamis or the ‘Grey Lady’, is one of the most infamous ghosts at Glamis Castle. After the false allegations of witchcraft and treason against King James V of Scotland, Janet was convicted and burned at the stake in Edinburgh.
After her gruesome death, stories and sightings of her apparition began to circulate. We wouldn’t blame her for seeking revenge for her untimely demise. Visitors have only ever seen her ghost in the castle’s chapel. Where she kneels as if in prayer before fading away. Witnesses describe her ghost as emitting a shimmering aura and loving and peaceful presence.
The woman without a tongue
In stark contrast to the serene Grey Lady, the spirit of a woman without a tongue is a horrifying and unsettling presence around the castle grounds.
This mysterious apparition is believed to be a maid who discovered a terrible secret only known by the Earl of Glamis. And, when she threatened to reveal this secret, the Earl went mad and ordered his guards to cut out her tongue and execute her.
The poor unnamed woman’s ghost can be seen stalking around the castle. And she points to her disfigured face as a waterfall of blood falls from her open mouth. The thought alone is enough to make our blood run cold!
Alexander Lyndsay, more commonly known as Earl Beardie, was known far and wide for his love of a strong drink and gambling games. According to local legend, the story behind this infamous figure says that the Earl lost his soul after a fateful Sunday night of playing cards at Glamis Castle.
When his gambling partner wanted to stop the game because it was the Sabbath day, the Earl defiantly exclaimed that he would continue to gamble – even if it meant playing with the Devil himself!
Shortly after, a tall stranger in a dark coat arrived and offered to play a round of cards with the Earl. But, as it turns out, the stranger was the Devil in disguise and stole the Earl’s soul. Now, Earl Beardie’s ghost is doomed to haunt the fortress in search of his lost soul. Or, perhaps, for a new gambling partner.
The Monster of Glamis
The ‘Monster of Glamis‘ legend revolves around Thomas Bowes-Lyon, the oldest son of the 11th Earl of Strathmore. It’s said that the boy was born with severe deformities and died on the day of his birth. But rumours that Thomas survived and was hidden away have been passed down from generation to generation.
Thomas was supposedly kept within the castle walls and removed from the line of succession. Only being allowed out in the dead of night when nobody else was around. Stories have told of Thomas’s shadowy and deformed figure lurking around the roof and parapets. And stalking around the grounds under the pale light of the moon.
Now, his ghost is said to haunt a specific section of the parapets known as ‘The Mad Earl’s Walk’. And his mournful cries echo within the castle when the sun starts to set.
Are there any ghost tours or paranormal investigations at Glamis Castle?
Glamis occasionally offers themed tours, including those of the more haunted areas of the castle, such as the dining room and castle kitchens. But, these tours are less frequent than some other events the castle offers. So you’ll need to keep your ear to the ground to book your ticket for the next ghostly tour.
Can I stay overnight at Glamis Castle?
The fort doesn’t offer overnight stays to the public. But, some special occasions and private bookings may allow limited opportunities for ghost-crazy history buffs to have an overnight experience in the castle. To find out more about late-night tours or sleepovers at the fortress, you’ll need to contact the staff directly.