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Lesmoir

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Lesmoir
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Location Information
Name Lesmoir
Owner ruins
NGR NJ 47078 28063
Lon. & Lat. 57.340008,-2.881114
Council Aberdeenshire
Parish Rhynie
Nearby Castles Craig of Auchindoir, Inverharroch, Knockespock, Wardhouse 2
Year built 13th c.
Overview map
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Not far east of the castle is the farm of Scurdague from which the celebrated early 15th century Gordon Chief Jock o’ Scurdargue took his name. There is no evidence of a castle there so presumably he lived at Lesmoir, although he had other residences as well. Previously Lesmoir was owned by the Aberchirders, who obtained it in the late 13th century from the Frendraughts. A wooden building stood on the site in the 12th century but there is no evidence of stone buildings until the early 16th century. In 1537 George, 4th Earl of Huntly granted to James Gordon “the lands of Essie with the croft of Auchleke, with the place and house of Lesmoir, and the lands of Balhene in the barony of Strathbogie”. At Druminnor is a heraldic stone removed from Lesmoir but it is uncertain whether this indicated building work at Lesmoir before the grant or that a building constructed by James Gordon bore the arms of his feudal superior. The latter is more likely. A yet at Druminor may also have come from Lesmoir.

Alexander Gordon, 3rd of this new line rebuilt Lesmoir Castle in the 1590s, it being in 1600 described as built “more synotuouslie by farr than it was befor”. In 1625 James Gordon, 4th laird, was created baronet of Nova Scotia. Lesmoir Castle was held against General Leslie in 1647. Although described by Leslie as a”a place of considerable strength” those within the main building surrenedered within two days after the moat was drained and the courtyard was stormed. Leslie hung 27 “Irish” (probably western Highlanders) of the garrison. John Leith of Harthill was subsequently confined at Lesmoir for two years. The destruction of the castle to prevent th necessity of garrisoning it was contemplated by the Covenant authorities but there is nothing to suggest that it was demolished. The site was occupied for another centuryand there is evidence of the house being remodeled or rebuilt (so perhaps it was just unroofed) in the 1660s. Nine years after Sir William Gordon, 9th baronet, died at Lesmoir in 1750, it was sold to John Grant of Rothiemaise. Demolition for materials was commenced but much of the house still stood in 1779 when he went bankrupt and the place was again put up for sale.

Castle of Lesmoir, from 13th century. Represented by circular earthwork of a medieval homestead moat, possibly of the Frendraught family, holders of lands of Essie before the third quarter of the 13th century and fragments of a late medieval fortalice, all largely hidden by farmyard rubbish. However, the great Gordon fireplace from this latter strength was found recently in a cottage nearby and now graces the restored Terpersie.

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