Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle, pronounced Glahms, is situated in the small village of Glamis not too far from where we are staying. The lovely castle is known for its associations with the royal family. It was the childhood home of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the current Queen’s mother.

The history of the castle goes back to at least the 14th century when King Robert II granted the Glamis estate to John Lyon, Lord Glamis. The castle has been in the Lyon family since, with Lyons still residing in Glamis today.

We took a guided tour of the castle, learning about its family history and ghost stories. Pictures are not allowed inside, but I can tell you that each room inside Glamis is lavishly furnished in each room, decorated with lions, the symbol of the Lyon family. The only room that doesn’t have the symbol is in the chapel.

Glamis Ghosts

Glamis is known to be one of the most haunted castles in Britain. The tour guide shared that there are several ghosts in the castle, but the one that stands out the most is Janet Douglas, Lady Glamis, who was accused of witchery by James V. He wanted Glamis for himself and had Janet and her eldest son executed. Janet is known as Lady Gray and has been seen in the chapel often, providing an uplifting and joyful feeling when she’s around.

Another ghost is of a young servant boy who has been spotted sitting on the stone seat by the door of the Queen’s room on several occasions but not seen anywhere else in the castle.

An interesting legend is of the infamous ghost of Alexander Lindsay, 4th Earl of Crawford, also known as Earl Beardie. His presence has been heard and seen all around the castle as a dark figure. Apparently, he was visiting and playing cards on a Sunday night. When told to stop, because card playing is prohibited on Sabbath, he vowed to play for as long as he wanted, even if it was with the Devil for all eternity.

It seemed his words were taken seriously, and his soul was taken by the Devil. He is thought to be in a secret chamber playing cards with the Devil, a room where there is no entrance to, though you can see the window with bars from the room outside of the castle. People say they can hear shouting from inside the chamber at times.

Glamis Grounds and Gardens

After the hour-long tour inside, we ventured outside and walked the castle grounds. There is the Walled Garden, Italian Garden, Pet Cemetery, and more nature trails around the castle. As much as I enjoyed the tour, I was glad to be outside and breathe in fresh air. Something about the air inside the castle made me nauseous and gave me a headache.

Pet Cemetery

Italian Garden

The Queen’s younger sister, Princess Margaret, was the first royal baby born in Scotland in 1930 since 1600. Her memorial is outside of the Italian Garden.

Princess Margaret Memorial

River Dean

The Walled Garden

Shakespeare’s Macbeth

There is a Macbeth Trail with sculptures depicting characters from Shakespeare’s play. The play was written for King James VI. Shakespeare used Glamis as the setting for Macbeth’s grim tragedy. Macbeth killed King Duncan in Glamis in the play, but in fact, King Duncan’s slaying happened at Elgin.

The three witches in the opening scene of Macbeth

King Duncan


Lady Macbeth

The trail refreshed my memory of the play as we walked through. Nick hasn’t read the play, but he was able to get the gist of the plot just by walking through the trail. So, if you haven’t read it yet and intend to, you might want to skip this part to avoid spoilers when visiting.

The visit to Glamis Castle was lovely. I would have loved to explore the castle some more when there are fewer people. On Halloween, Glamis has an event for the occasion. I’d love to visit then but unfortunately, our time in Scotland ends in the summer.


8 thoughts on “Glamis Castle

  1. Glamis is famous for the ghosts you mentioned, and there is one which is supposed to be horrific indeed – it wasn’t named, I think. It’s not a good one – bad omens are associated with it. I’ve read about this in various places over the years, and it sometimes comes up when you look up Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who was born there, and later became the Queen and then QueenMother. Thanks for another great post – love it!

    • I’ve read about that bad ghost, but the tour guide hadn’t mentioned it. And most people think Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was born in Glamis, but she actually wasn’t. She only grew up there starting at the age of 4. This was what I learned from the tour at Glamis.

      • Thanks for that – whenever I’ve researched the bad ghost, they say they don’t like to even mention it,. There are some accounts from old ghost writers – there may be something in Violet Tweedale’s book, I’ll have to check. One thing I read about it long ago was that someone saw it from a window, When they came back to show their hosts, they couldn’t even find the window!

      • Ooh, creepy! I imagined that was the case — too bad to even mention it. Because of the bad omen side, I wouldn’t want a sighting of it.

  2. Pingback: Ghosts: Ghosts of Glamis! | Book 'Em, Jan O

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