by killer or victim ?
Castle: One of the most popular castles in the care of the National
Trust for Scotland is Crathes in the Grampian Region. Built
in the second half of the sixteenth century by the Burnetts
of Leys its grounds are equally as famous, being more a series
of gardens divided by yew hedges planted about 1702.
Crathes Castle. Photographic Print of Crathes Castle from Robert Harding.
The ancient Barony of Leys was granted to Alexander de Burnard
by Robert the Bruce in 1323 as a token of appreciation of his
support, and with it came the post of King's forester. But the
king had committed one of these 'faux pas' which could lead to
one party being highly offended, for the post was also given to
the Irvines of Drum nearby! The matter was settled amicably enough
however, for while the Irvines continued to display the official
arms of the King's forester -- a silver shield with three holly
leaves, the Burnetts, as they came to be known, have incorporated
in their Arms a horn. The actual jewelled ivory horn they received
from the king is perhaps the most famous of the family heirlooms
and has pride of place over the fireplace in the Great Hall.
first home was built on an island in the loch of Leys and legend
associates the building of Crathes with a tragedy that occurred
in their original stronghold. The old laird had died, leaving
a wife and an heir, Alexander, who was still a child. The widow
Lady Agnes, was a managing domineering woman who had ambitious
plans, as the years went past, for her son's marriage with one
of the noble families of Scotland.
wasn't at all pleased when romance blossomed between young Alexander
and a relative, a pretty girl called Bertha, who had been left
in her care for a few months. Her chance came when Alexander
was called away on business that took him some time. As the
days and weeks passed the servants noticed his beloved Bertha
was pining away. Alexander returned home too late, his sweetheart
had died that day.
solicitous his mother came to comfort him as he stood by the
bier. Alexander stretched out his hand to a nearby goblet of
wine. As quick as lightning his mother snatched it from his
hand and flung it out of the window, into the loch below. Alexander
never said a word, but, horrified, he knew his mother had poisoned
his beloved. The months went past until one day Bertha's father
arrived to claim the daughter he had left in their care. As
they tried to explain her death a chill came overthe room. Lady
Agnes shrieked and pointed, screaming "She comes, she comes"
. . . then fell to the floor, dead.
unhappy memories made Alexander set in motion plans to build a
new castle and Crathes was the outcome. But once a year, so they
say, on the anniversary of Bertha's death a ghostly figure crosses
the country from the site of the old castle of Leys to Crathes.
Opinions differ however, as to whether it is the murdered Bertha
or her murderer Lady Agnes.
painted ceilings in three of the bedrooms are famous. The chamber
of the Nine Nobles depicts Hector, Alexander and Julius Caesar;
Joshua, David and Judas Maccabeus; King Arthur, Charlemange and
Godfrey de Bouillon each supported by a rhyme or proverb and ending
redar tell me or you pass
Whilk of these myn maist valiant was?"
Green Lady's room is the haunt of another ghost. She is most
frequently seen crossing the room carrying a baby, only to disappear
at the fireplace. She first made her appearance early in the
eighteenth century and legend states she was a young girl living
at the castle in the care of the laird. She became pregnant
by one of the servants who was ultimately dismissed. The girl
and her baby disappeared and rumour said she had eloped with
the servant. Then the hauntings began . . . and when workmen
were engaged on alterations in the room skeletons were found
under the hearthstone . .
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