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Gight Castle (Formartine)

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Gight Castle
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Location Information
Name Gight Castle
Owner ruins
NGR NJ 82648 39204
Lon. & Lat. 57.442907,-2.290487
Council Aberdeenshire
Parish Fyvie
Nearby Castles Fyvie, Haddo, Schivas
Year built 1513
Overview map
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Gight or Formartine Castle, ruins, lies above a bend in the Ythan some distance from any house or road. The estate belonged to the Maitlands until in 1479 it passed to William Gordon, 3rd son of the 2nd Earl of Huntly. Many of this branch of the family suffered violent deaths. William himself was killed at Flodden in 1513, a son was killed at Pinkie in 1547, three of his grandsons including the 3rd laird of Gight and a son-in-law were murdered, a fourth grandson was executed by the Crown, a fifth drowned and a sixth and seventh were killed fighting in Holland and Flanders respectively.


The 13th laird was Catherine Gordon who married the Hon. John Byron. Their son George was the celebrated Lord Byron, although he never owned Gight which had been sold off to the Earl of Aberdeen in 1787 to pay off his father’s debts. By then the castle was probably long abandoned.


Gight is the largest of a series of similar L-plan buildings of the 1560s and 70s. It is the only one where the main block has three cellars below the hall instead of just two. The entrance lies in the main block east wall and has draw-bar slots and covering gunloops of an uncommon rectangular shape. It leads into a lobby with a ribbed vault on the central boss of which are the symbols of The Passion: The Five Wounds of Christ, The Crown of Thorns, The Hammer, The Ladder, The Nails, The Reed, and The Speer, and indication of the Catholic sympathies of the then laird.

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