Muchalls Castle, Stonehaven Ghost Story

- History of the Green Lady of Muchalls Castle.

The History Of Muchalls Castle

Alexander Burnett of Leys, who also built Crathes Castle, bought some land from the Fraser family and in 1619 set to work building the smaller L-shaped Muchalls Castle. The work was finished in 1627 when his son, Sir Thomas, was the current Laird.

Other famous and prominent owners of Muchalls Castle included Lord Robertson the Lord Chief Justice of Scotland. He used Muchalls Castle as a country house in the late 1800s.

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I have published a book which tells the story of an Aberdonian military nurse who returns from Afghanistan and encounters The Grey Lady Ghost of the Cambridge Military Hospital. The novel reveals her origins and takes him to a pre-war Duthie Park, modern day Cruden Bay and back to the past to the Battle of Loos in World War One where he witnesses the Gordon Highlanders in action. This is the first in the series of Grey and Scarlet Novels by me, CG Buswell, and each book will feature a well known Aberdeen ghost and Aberdeenshire area as well as modern Scottish Infantry in action. Read the first chapter for free.

The Castle, though small, had the reputation of being the finest Castle of its time. In particular the ceiling of the Great Hall was famed for its elaborate plasterwork design of six coats of arms and four medallions depicting the heads of Biblical characters and Classical heroes.

Muchalls Castle has a Laird's Lug which allowed the Laird to eavesdrop on his servants and guests. This is a narrow room which the Laird accessed from his bedroom via a special staircase to the Hall.

In 1715 James VIII (the Old Pretender) stayed overnight during his failed attempt to claim the crown. The bed he slept in is still in the Castle.

Muchalls has two meanings:

"An Abundance of swine."

"The bog in the wood"

Muchalls Castle was used as an hotel for many years. In 1997 it went up for sale with prices over 600,000 (cited in Castles of the Clans: The Strongholds and Seats of 750 Scottish Families and Clans by Martin Coventry).

The Ghost Of Muchalls Castle

An underground passage connected the Castle to a smugglers cove at Gin Shore. In the 19th the Lord Justice General of Scotland Lord Robertson had the passage sealed when he was a tenant of the Castle as he felt it was not in keeping with his title and position. The room which led to the tunnel is still called the Cave Room.

When the passage was used by smugglers, the daughter of one of the Castle's tenants had a lover who used the passage to smuggle contraband. One day she saw her lover's boat approach and she ran to the underground passage to meet him. Unfortunately she slipped and fell into the water and was found drowned by her lover. Since then the ghost of a beautiful girl has been seen in the Castle, making herself presentable in front of a mirror, as if to meet a lover. She also appears as a Green Lady in what was called the withdrawing room, which in modern days is now the dining room.

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Other witnessed ghosts at Muchalls Castle include a figure dressed in Regency clothing standing by the fireplace of the main bedroom. A housekeeper in the late 1960s heard loud clattering and crashing in the middle of the night when no-one else was in the Castle.

Other unusual noises include a creaking going back and forth for several minutes in the middle of the night and early in the morning from the roof space above a guest bedroom. Years ago there were small rooms in this roof space which had wooden rocking chairs and cradles.

The author Elizabeth Byrd writes about seeing these and other Aberdeenshire ghosts in her book A Strange and Seeing Time.

How To Get To Muchalls Castle In Stonehaven

From Aberdeen take the A90.

More Scottish Castles.

More ghost stories from Aberdeenshire.

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