- Glamis Castle
Glamis Castle has been deemed, “Britain’s Most Haunted Castle.” This could be true, but what’s even more interesting is the tremendous series of dramas, tragedies, and deaths attached to the structure. Such an established history is worthy of its own article series as we explore the history of the haunting. The castle is said to have a peculiar effect on women, and a fatal effect on men.
Glamis is situated around 13 miles outside of Dundee and Loch Tay. It is one of the few Scottish structures that has no documented origin, yet remains in use. It was a Royal Hunting Lodge centuries before it was a permanent residence, allegedly where the Duncan was murdered by Lady Macbeth, according to Shakespeare.
It should be noted that Shakespeare took creative liberties with the story, but is it possible the original structure still remains?
Original or Renovated?
Around the start of the Nineteenth Century, many historical writers began to claim the original castle, where “Duncan” and Malcolm II died wasn’t even standing when they were alive. There are a few problems with this assumption.
Then current Lady Glamis authored a series of articles around the turn of the Twentieth Century that stated the original structure was still there, but several owners added onto the original. Adding further credibility is the fact that the same family has owned Glamis since it was given to John Lyon in 1372.
There are also architectural accounts that state the additions have all been from the same materials used with the original, and deliberately made to appear original. This will be open to debate until something concrete emerges regarding Glamis’s origins. It’s completely possible that portions still exist from the original structure.
Duncan, Malcolm, and Macbeth
Most historic accounts agree that Duncan was killed, but that it was in a battle elsewhere. With no more information available, we can only surmise the truth of these early deaths.
Several historic rumors believe that Macbeth was Lord Glamis, and the Glamis we know today was merely a secondary or vacation home. Another fact is that Macbeth couldn’t have been a “Thane,” as the Saxon term had not reached common use in Scotland during his time. It wouldn’t be used for several generations.
He was most likely a “Maormer,” or Celtic dignity just below the king. History states Macbeth was Maormer of Ross, who was killed in battle with Malcolm II in 1020.
Malcolm II was attacked on Hunter’s Hill, which stands beside Glamis, in 1033. His men carried him into Glamis and he died shortly thereafter. What we do know is Glamis has a room called the “King Malcolm Room,” where King Malcolm II was supposed to have died. That would place the structure in the correct era. It is not a concrete method of determining age, but if it’s a hoax, it has lingered many centuries. Regardless of the details behind Malcolm and Duncan’s deaths, history doesn’t mention Glamis further until centuries later.
Born from Woman
Glamis would probably never have garnered any attention, no more than other such structures, were it not for the love of a woman and a scandal that almost ruined her.
John Lyon (1340-1382) was the son of a feudal baron when Sir James Lindsey first noticed him. Lindsey took him under his wing and introduced him to the nobles in the land. Lyon was bright, personable, and most believed he would have a tremendous future. Eventually, Lindsey even introduced Lyon to his uncle, King Robert II. The king liked Lyon so much he made him his private secretary.
Lyon became a regular member of the king’s circle. It wasn’t long before he also met the widowed Princess Joan, also known as Jean or Johanna. She had been married to Sir John Keith until his death. The two were attracted to one another and Lyon eventually seduced her. She became pregnant.
Lyon enlisted the help of his old friend, Sir Lindsey, to help. There would be dire consequences for both Lyon and Joan if the king, or the court, discovered the illegitimacy. Lindsey paid another noble to take the blame and flee the country, which opened the door for Lyon to marry her.
Glamis was a dowry to Lyon and the couple lived there as happily as possible. Unfortunately, Lindsey grew more jealous of Lyon’s favor with the nobility. It seemed as the young man flourished, he suffered more losses. The two quarreled and this resentment fueled the ultimate fight were Lindsey murdered Lyon on November 4, 1382.