My Account

Coastal Knowledge

Findlater Castle

By 25th November 2021 No Comments

Findlater Castle

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The first historical reference to the castle is from 1246.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 Norwegians 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Text from Wikipedia

Animated reconstruction by Andrew Spratt

Text Edited from Wikipedia

This page is part of Coastal Knowledge, an online exhibition mapping some of the amazing places on the coast of Scotland.  It includes pictures, memories, artworks, stories and videos submitted by a variety of people including scientists, artists, coastal dwellers, tourists, and community organisations.  We want to share the beauty of the Scottish coast, but also its vital role in the day-to-day lives of people in Scotland- for example, its many industrial roles.

This exhibition is dynamic and ongoing- and we’d love for you to share contributions for it too!  To learn more and submit your own coastal knowledge, visit the main page of the exhibition.

coastal knowledge exhibition