Pitfichie Castle, Aberdeenshire
Pitfichie Castle is an imposing 16th century tower house that is set in open ground and can be seen from the road. It was surrounded by a walled courtyard but today this has been replaced by manicured lawns.
A private residence.
~ History ~
1560 ~ The Urry family build themselves a tower house on the lands they have owned for some two hundred years.
1597 ~ The castle is sold to John Cheyne.
1641 ~ John Urry leaves Pitfichie to see military service in the Thirty Years War in Germany.
1643 ~ John Urry deserts to the Royalist cause, bringing with him information which Prince Rupert immediately acts upon. During the resulting battle John is knighted for the valour shown in the thick of the battle.
1644 ~ Sir John Urry is with Prince Rupert at the Battle of Marston Moor.
After seeing the King's cause is lost, he defects and is sent to fight against Montrose in the Highlands.
1645 ~ Sir John returns home and becomes Lieutenant-Colonel in a Scottish regiment. By the end of the year, he has become embroiled in a Royalist plot to kidnap Scottish nobles.
The Marquis of Hamilton, whilst remaining a Royalist, seeks to develop a friendship with the Marquis of Argyll. It is unclear how much King Charles I approves of this liaison, but this leaves many in the Scottish Royalist faction feeling threatened by this development. On the evening of 29 September, Lord Henry Ker rides into Edinburgh at the head of an armed retinue and challenges Hamilton to a duel, calling him a traitor. The challenge ends without violence as Lord Ker is forced to back down and apologise. However, it sets in motion murmurs and whispers amongst others, Royalists which leads to plotting.
The plot is directed against the Marquis of Argyll, the Marquis of Hamilton, and the latter's brother, the Earl of Lanark. It is hatched by the Royalist, and rival of Argyll, the Earl of Montrose, who has already attempted to have Argyll charged with high treason. The plot is to kidnap them and take them on board a ship at Leith. However General Leslie, the leader of the Covenanter army, is informed of this plot by Sir John Urry, who had been invited to join the conspiracy. Argyll, Hamilton and Lanark are still forced to flee from Edinburgh to Hamilton's property at Kinneil House, near Bo'ness. The next day, King Charles denies any involvement in the plot and is soon forced to allow an investigation into the matter.
1648 ~ Sir John is taken prisoner following a disastrous campaign against Montrose for the Royalist cause of King Charles I. He is beheaded at Edinburgh.
1650 ~ William Urry among others, raids the lands of the neighbouring Forbes family and through the resulting mistreatment of the locals is outlawed.
1657 ~ The Forbes family purchase the castle.
1712 ~ The Forbes sell their estates to the Grants and move into Pitfichie castle.
1796 ~ The castle abandoned and unroofed. As a consequence, it is allowed to fall into ruin.