Scottish Castles Photo Library
- Delgatie Castle, Turriff, Aberdeenshire

Graphics copyright © Scotavia Images

There has been a castle at Delgatie, near Turriff, in Aberdeenshire, since the 1030 AD. However, the earliest parts of the castle standing today is a 15th century keep, five storeys and a garret high, although it may incorporate older stonework from 1100. There is an adjoining 16th century gabled house and additional wings and a chapel were added in 1743. The present entrance through a vaulted vestibule, leads to a large turnpike stair with 97 steps and said to be the widest in Scotland at over five feet. Painted ceilings in the castle date back to the 16th century and are considered some of the finest in Scotland. Strange animals are illustrated - some with human heads thought to represent the actual inhabitants of the time!

The castle was stripped from the disgraced Henry de Beaumont, Earl of Buchan after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 and given to Clan Hay (later to become the Earls of Erroll in 1452). Sir Gilbert Hay of Delgatie and many members of his family were killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Mary, Queen of Scots was a guest at the castle in 1562 after the Battle of Corrichie when the Gordon family were defeated by her forces. Her bedchamber is on view to visitors. The invention of the siege gun meant that greater fortifications were needed and rebuilding around 1570 provided 8-14 feet thick walls.

In 1594 the 9th Earl of Erroll was accused of treason for supporting the Gordon Earl of Huntly. However, the 9th Earl fought at Glenlivet later that year, when the royal forces of King James VI, led by the Earl of Argyll, were defeated. That rebellion faded and he lost his title and lands - but as was the way in those days, a descendant regained the castle. Thus in the next century Sir William Hay of Delgatie was again on the losing side when he became a standard bearer for the Marquis of Montrose during his 1645 campaign. After the defeat at the Battle of Philliphaugh, Sir William was captured and executed - he is buried with the Marquis of Montrose in St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.

The Hays supported the Jacobite uprisings of 1715 and 1745 and again lost their title and lands. Delgatie Castle passed to the Gordons in 1762, the Duffs in 1798 and then the Ainslies around 1868, before returning to Hay ownership. It was made a Clan Hay centre in 1948 and is still occupied but the castle and gardens are open to visitors during the summer months - see the Delgatie Castle Trust Web site. Suites within the castle itself and a number of cottages the estate are available to rent.

Note: The photo of Delgatie Castle on this page is copyright Scotavia Images who provide a quality aerial photography service for Scotland. Prints from their large online gallery are available for purchase. If you have ancestors with a Scottish Highland origin, they can provide an aerial view of the area they came from!

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