DiCamillo Companion
Scotland

Fyvie Castle

  • House & Family History: Fyvie was once a royal stronghold, one of a chain of fortresses that sought to strengthen the Scottish monarchy. The land around the castle was a royal hunting forest. The name Fyvie means "deer hill" in Gaelic. The earliest castle on the site may have been built of timber in the 13th century. Robert the Bruce dispensed justice in an open-air court held beneath the hanging Beechwood trees of Fyvie. In the early 17th century the Castle was greatly enlarged by Alexander Seton, later Chancellor of Scotland. His additions left Fyvie as one of the finest examples of late 16th century Scottish baronial style. harles I spent six years of his youth at Fyvie. In 1889 Alexander Leith, later Lord Leith of Fyvie, purchased the Castle, and, in 1890, added Leith Tower. The Tower was designed by John Bryce and was inspired by Huntly Castle. Fyvie contains the largest wheel staircase in Scotland, built by the Seton family between 1599 and 1601. In 1984 the Castle and its contents were sold by Alexander's grandson, Sir Andrew Forbes-Leith, to the National Trust for Scotland. The Trust acquired the House and established an endowment in 1984 with £3 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. In 2011 Fyvie celebrated its 800th birthday. Legend says that each of the five towers was built by the five families who've lived at Fyvie: the Prestons, the Medrums, the Setons, the Gordons, and the Leiths.

    Collections: The collection includes works by Batoni, Raeburn, Romney, Gainsborough, Opie, and Hopper. Fyvie also includes a portrait collection, as well as an armory collection, and 17th century tapestries. The portrait and armory collections are considered outstanding.

    Comments: Fyvie is considered the greatest Scottish Baronial house in existence.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The parkland was landscaped in the early 19th century. The grounds today encompass 118 acres, which includes a racquet court, and an ice house.

  • Architect: John Bryce

    Date: 1890
    Designed: Leith Tower for Alexander Leith, later Lord Leith of Fyvie.

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  • J.B. Burke: 2.S. Vol. I, p. 10, 1854.

    J.P. Neal: 2.S. Vol. I, 1824. Scotland, 1830.

    Country Life: XXXII, 388 plan, 1912. CIV, 378, 1948. CLXXII, 1131, 1982.

  • Title: Fyvie Castle Guidebook
    Author: Hartley, Christopher
    Year Published: 1996
    Publisher: Edinburgh: The National Trust for Scotland
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
    Author: Sayer, Michael
    Year Published: 1993
    Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
    ISBN: 0859551970
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Category A

    Park Listed: Outstanding

  • "The Last of the Blonde Bombshells" (2000 - TV movie). "Spook Squad" (2004 - TV series).
  • Past Seat of: Preston family. Seton family, 1599 until early 18th century. Meldrum family. Gordon family. Alexander Forbes-Leith, 1st Baron Leith of Fyvie, 19th-20th centuries. Sir Andrew Forbes-Leith, 1st Bt., until 1984.

    Current Ownership Type: The National Trust for Scotland

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01651-891-266

    Fax: 01651-891-107

    Website: http://www.nts.org.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No