Boyne Castle

Boyne Castle, Aberdeenshire

Boyne Castle (20)
Boyne Castle (6)
Boyne Castle (19)

~ History ~

1300s ~ The lands are held by Sir Thomas Randolph and then the Edmonstones, before passing through marriage to the Ogilvie's.

1575 ~ Sir George Ogilvie builds himself a courtyard castle.

1645 ~ Walter Ogilvie, 7th of Boyne, takes an active part on the Covenanting side during the Civil War. However, following the brilliant James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose decision to switch sides from a leading Covenanter to staunch Royalist, following yet another victory at Auldearn, his forces sweep along the north of Banffshire, harrying the Ogilvie lands from Portsoy to Banff. Later, Walter so disillusioned with the Covenant side also switches sides.

Montrose is aware that Highlanders had never before been known to combine well together, but he also knows that many of the West Highland clans, who are largely Catholic, detest the Covenant Earl of Argyll and his Campbell clansmen, and none more so than the MacDonalds who with many of the other clans rally to his summons. The Royalist allied Irish Confederates send 2000 formidable disciplined Irish soldiers led by Alasdair MacColla across the sea to assist him.

In two campaigns, distinguished by rapidity of movement, he meets, defeats and routes his opponents in six battles.

The fiery enthusiasm of the Gordons and other clans often carry the day, but Montrose relies most upon the disciplined infantry from Ireland.


Montrose finds himself master of Scotland. King Charles sends his secretary with letters confirming that Montrose as his lieutenant and captain general.

However, the King is himself defeated at the Battle of Naseby, and so Montrose must come to his aid if there is to be still a king to proclaim.

David Leslie, the best of the Scottish Covenanter generals, is promptly dispatched against Montrose to anticipate the invasion. He comes upon Montrose, who had by now been deserted by his Highlanders and is guarded only by a small group of followers. Leslie wins an easy victory. Montrose cuts his way through to the safety of the Highlands but is unable to organise an army, so he flees into exile for Norway.


Walter returns to Boyne and suffers severe church discipline for his actions against the Covenanter cause.

1649 ~ Eager to avenge the execuion of King Charles I, Montrose is restored by the exiled King Charles II to the lieutenancy of Scotland.

1650 ~ Montrose lands in Orkney to take command of a small force which he had sent on before him with George Hay. Crossing to the mainland, he tries in vain to raise the clans, but is surprised and routed at the Battle of Carbisdale.

He however escapes. After wandering for some time he is surrendered by Neil MacLeod of Assynt at Ardvreck Castle, to whose protection, in ignorance of MacLeod's political enmity, he had entrusted himself.

He is brought as prisoner to Edinburgh, where he is sentenced to death by parliament. After being hanged his head is removed and spiked upon the highest stone outside St Giles Cathedral for eleven years. 

1661 ~ Montrose's mangled torso is disinterred from the gallows ground and carried under a velvet canopy to the Tolbooth, where his head is reverently removed from the spike, before the procession continue on its way to Holyrood Abbey. In the same year Walter's son Patrick Ogilvie receives a knighthood.

1664 ~ Sir Patrick marries Anna, daughter of the seventh laird of Grant.

1667 ~ Walter Ogilvie dies.

1674 ~ A commission is issued to Patrick Ogilvie to be captain of one of the companies of a new regiment of foot. The following year he is promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, following the resignation of James, Earl of Findlater Castle.

1681 ~ Patrick is created a judge of the Court of Session under the title Lord Boyne.

1704 ~ The Ogilvie's of Boyne Castle's business of mining and shipping marble from their nearby harbour of Portsoy is growing rapidly, along with their profits free of taxes due to them having built their own harbour.

Meantime young Boyne, excluded from Parliament, is becoming ever increasingly embroiled into Jacobite affairs. By now he is a broken and landless man, with his ancestral estates falling into the hands of his relative Seafield, and with no hope of recvering them except through revolution. He is seen passing between Scotland and France arranging for a French descent and a Jacobite rising in Scotland.

1723 ~ The castle is abandoned.


1.5 miles East of Portsoy.




Nr AB45 2LL

Boyne Castle is a large and very overgrown 16th century courtyard castle. There remains a stone lined ditch and walled causeway, with a range of internal buildings up to three storey in height.

In its day there would have been manicured gardens and fine orchards, in place of the thick thorns, brambles and ivy that now cover its crumbling walls.

The castle provides the perfect place to explore once you discover its location, along the edge of field with friendly horses beyond to the thick covering of trees and vegetation that obscure its hidden location.