Spynie Palace

Home | Castles Index | Gordons of Interest | Lands, Estates, Battlefields


Spynie Palace
Loading map...

Location Information
Name Spynie Palace
Owner ruins
NGR NJ 2307 6584
Lon. & Lat. 57.675784,-3.291334
Council Moray
Parish Spynie
Nearby Castles Gordonstoun
Year built 13th c.
Overview map
Loading map...

Spynie Palace, also known as Spynie Castle, was the fortified seat of the Bishops of Moray for about 500 years. The founding of the palace dates back to the late 12th Century. It is situated about 500m from the location of the first officially settled Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Moray, in present day Spynie Churchyard.

The most significant buildings were established in the later 15th century through into the 16th century when David’s Tower (also known as Davey’s Tower) was built along with other substantial accommodation areas. The tower is the largest by volume of all medieval Scottish towers measuring 19m by 13.5m and 22m in height and was started by Bishop David Stewart (1462 – 76) and completed by Bishop William Tulloch (1477 – 82). It was said that the building of the tower was a reaction to intimidation from the Earl of Huntly whom Stewart had excommunicated for failing to pay his taxes.

Queen Mary stayed at Spynie shortly before her forces defeated the Gordons at Corrichie Burn, 28th of October 1562.

In the Early 1570’s, Bishop Patrick Hepburn found himself on the same side as the Gordons in their fight against the allies of the Protestant regency and he had custody at Spynie of thir prisoner the Master of Forbes. The Bishopric was in this period officially abolished, although Hepburn managed to retain control of the lands and revenues of Spynie.

By the 17th Century, Elgin and surrounding areas were staunchly anti-Royalist and after his victory against the Covenanters at Auldearn on 9 May 1645, James Graham, Marquis of Montrose turned his attention towards Elgin. The Laird of Innes and Grant of Ballindalloch and some burgesses from Elgin prepared the castle for a siege. Montrose occupied Elgin and burned the homes of leading Covenanter supporters in the town and the farmyard buildings belonging to Spynie but did not attempt to take the castle. Spynie had become the center for the Covenanters in the area and this fact had not gone un-noticed with the Royalists. The Marquis of Huntly laid siege to the castle in late 1645 leaving Lord Lewis Gordon in charge but the castle's defences held until it was relieved by John Middleton, the future Earl of Middleton.


Home | Castles Index | Gordons of Interest | Lands, Estates, Battlefields