CASTLE, Nr Alford, Aberdeenshire
Sometimes spelled ‘Glenbucket’,
this Z-plan tower house, now roofless but far from ruinous,
stands on rising ground above the river Don it was built
in 1590 by John Gordon and Helen Carnegie whose fate-challenging
motto inscribed above the lintel - ‘No thing on Earth
remanis bot faime’ - is now, suitably, illegible.
Both square and round turrets protrude from the corners,
the stair turrets in the re-entrant angles are supported
on arches, or ‘squinches’, an unusual and attractive
Jacobites to the last, the Gordons
joined both the 1715 rising (proximity to Kildrummy may
have given them little choice) and the 1745, forfeiting
their lands after Culloden Though now in the care of the
State, neither the castle nor its wild surroundings betray
evidence of zealous conservation and are the better for
Glenbuchat belonged in succession to
two branches of the Gordon family. The builder was John
Gordon of Cairnburrow who marked the occasion of his second
marriage, to Helen Carnegie, daughter of Sir Robert Carnegie
of Kinnaird in Angus, by having the castle built, in 1590,
as the stone inscriptions above the entrance records. Like
other members of his clan, he was accused of complicity
in the murder of the "Bonnie Earl o' Moray" 1592
as a result of which his house was occupied by government
soldiers during the Catholic rising two years later. This,
however, was an isolated incident of the castle figuring
in national events and the story of Glenbuchat was largely
uneventful, the peace of the household disturbed on occasion
only by domestic disputes.
The chief difficulty came with the
rivalry between John's second and third sons, Adam and John.
Adam in 1623 seized Glenbuchat from his brother John, the
rightful owner, and despite the intervention of the Privy
Council and temporary confinement within the tollbooth of
Edinburgh, he succeeded in retaining possession.
The first line of Glenbuchat Gordons
gave way in 1701 to another branch when John Gordon of Knockespock
purchased the estate for his son, also John. In sharp contrast
to his unruly predecessors, the new laird acquired an almost
legendary reputation as an unswerving supporter of the Jacobite
cause. He sold the estate in 1738, before his last, tragic
stand against the House of Hanover.
The remodeling of the interior of the
castle was most likely carried out shortly after 1701 to
make the residence more comfortable and amenable for its
new laird. But by the time of its resale in 1738 it had
ceased to be a residence of gentry; it was partly unroofed
and inhabited by a farmer. In 1901 the estate was bought
by Mr. James Barclay, MP, who carried out much-needed repairs.
In 1946 the castle was placed in state care by Col. James
Barclay Milne and two years later the Deeside Field Club
purchased the Castle park and gifted it to the nation.
The lintel over the main doorway into
the castle bears the inscription:
"Nothing on earth remains but
- Article by Claudia Soergel