Huntingtower Castle

Huntingtower Castle is located just west of Perth, near the village of Huntingtower, beside the A85 and near the A9 on the main road to Crieff.

It was originally built in stages from the 15th century, although the lands had been held since the 13th century, by the Ruthven family and therefore was known as the House of Ruthven.

The Castle was a lord’s residence for 300 years, from the 15th century to the 18th century and was inhabited by two noble families.  After the downfall of the Ruthven’s in 1600, the Murray’s lived there.

Today Huntingtower looks like a single building but before the late 17th century, when the Murray’s tried to make the medieval castle look more like a country mansion, there were two tower houses standing less than 3m apart.  Other buildings, such as a great hall, stood around a courtyard beside the tower house and the whole edifice was enclosed within a stone defensive wall.  It has become known for having one of the oldest painted ceilings in Scotland, as well as some wall frescoes.

It has been the site of plotting and intrigue and also for housing some famous visitors.  Mary Queen of Scots honeymooned there in 1565 with Lord Darnley.  In 1582, Mary’s son James VI was held there against his will in the “Ruthven Raid” and as a result of the “Gowrie Conspiracy”, the Ruthvens were disinherited and the castle was renamed Huntingtower.

On Sunday, October 10th (11 a.m. – 4 p.m.), there will be a recounting of the life and times of Jacobite commander Lord George Murray at Huntingtower Castle.  Actors in period costumes will be re-enacting the history of Murray, who was born in 1694 and is most known for his 1745 campaign under Bonnie Prince Charlie.  There will also be a demonstration of the weaponry of that era. 

Monument manager Emily Copland says: “Murray was a fervent supporter of the Jacobite cause; at the age of 21 he defied his father’s wishes to join the Jacobite rebels under the Earl of Mar, and he went on to become an important commander of the Jacobite forces. 

“He was a brilliant campaign and battle strategist but his proposals were not always appreciated or accepted by Prince Charles Stuart.  Following the Rebellion’s failure, some commentators of the time noted that if the Prince had given Murray free rein and allowed him to fulfil his plans, Charles Stuart would have been successful in his efforts to win the crown of Great Britain.

“When the Prince abandoned his cause, he dismissed Murray from his service and later refused to meet his loyal supporter when Murray travelled to Paris to see him in 1747.  Murray lived on the continent for the rest of his before he died in Holland in 1760.”

For more information, see http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/propertyresults/propertyoverview.htm?PropID=PL_153&PropName=Huntingtower%20Castle and the photos are courtesy of http://www.castlexplorer.co.uk/scotland/huntingtower/huntingtower.php and http://www.marie-stuart.co.uk/Castles/Huntingtower.htm

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