Brodick Castle set on the Isle of Arran off the west coast of Scotland is a location that dates back to the fifth century where the original fortress can be traced to when Gaelic invaders from Antrim took over the island in order to expand their kingdom.
It is now just the kind of place that comes to mind when people think of a Victorian Highland retreat but has a colourful story to tell.
The castle suffered heavily in fighting between the Scots and the English in the 15th century. It was rebuilt in the form of a ‘Tower House’ around 1510 but was attacked again by the English and suffered at the hands of the fighting between the Campbells and McLeans.
The castle witnessed further hostility and damage during the time of Mary Queen of Scots when English forces led by the Earl of Lennox, attacked on behalf of Henry VIII. It’s believed that he was taking his revenge for the trouble caused by the 2nd Earl, Lord Arran who was Regent of Scotland when Mary was in her childhood.
The military history and architectural changes at Brodick Castle span the centuries taking it up to 1650 when the Roundheads led by Oliver Cromwell took charge of the castle and built an artillery battery to defend the Firth of Clyde.
Brodick Castle has been seen by millions of people – although they may not realise it – as its image is printed on the back of every £20 note that is issued by The Royal Bank of Scotland.
Brodick Castle was once the seat of the Dukes of Hamilton but is now owned by the National Trust of Scotland.
Visitors can see many artefacts including furniture, paintings, ceramics and silverware and the extensive gardens are home to the national collection of rhododendrons – a species of which can be found in flower for most of the year.
Film followers may be familiar with the castle as it was used for the location for the 1998 movie ‘The Governess’ starring Mini Driver.
The battles and hostilities are long since in the past but the legend of Brodick Castle tells a very different story. It is reputed to be haunted by several apparitions.
A ‘Grey Lady’ wanders through the halls and some believe she is the spirit of a servant girl dating back to Cromwell. Legend reports that she had an affair with the Captain of the Guard and became pregnant with his child. She was dismissed from service at the castle and disowned by her family.
Distraught by the rejection she took her own life by throwing herself in the Wine Port Quay just outside the entrance to the castle. She has been ‘seen’ by staff in all the rooms and hallways that would have been used by servants and it is claimed that the girl has tried to speak.
Others believe that the ‘Grey Lady’ is the spirit of a woman thrown in the dungeons after she contracted the plague and starved to death.
The apparitions of two men have also been seen in the castle. One is an old man in the library and the other walks the long corridor; both disappear very quickly when seen by staff and visitors.
The castle also lays claim to a ‘death omen.’ A white stag is said to appear in the castle grounds when the chief of the Hamilton’s clan is about to die.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
A719 (Rd), Culzean, Maybole
Ayrshire, Scotland, KA19 8JX
+44 (0)1655 760 627
- Address: The String, Isle of Arran, North Ayrshire KA27 8DF, UK
- GPS: 55.591058766397666,-5.191984176635742
- Phone: 0044 (0)844 493 2152
- Part of UK: Scotland
- Sat Nav Postcode: KA27 8HY
- Entrance Fees: Charges Apply
- Disabled Access: Fair
- Visibility from Road: None
- Image Credits: David Woods