Glamis Castle has been in the Lyons family since 1372. The south west wing of the present castle incorporates a building dating from 1400, lending antiquity to a castle described in Forfarshire Illustrated as ‘the noblest architectural ornament in the county’. A tower was added to this original building in 1445 by Patrick, Lord Glamis and Master of the Household of James II.
The family was not always favoured by royalty. In the late 1530’s Janet, Lady Glamis, the widow of the 6th Lord and the sister of the Earl of Angus, was accused of using sorcery to conspire against the life of James V. She was burned alive as a witch on the Castle Hill of Edinburgh. The estate was confiscated and its treasures appropriated by the King who used the castle as a royal residence. Glamis was returned to the 7th Lord after the death of James V in 1542.
In 1606 the family was advanced when Patrick, 9th Lord was created the Earl of Kinghorne. In the same year he began to remodel his castle to make it more comfortable. He added architectural details such as the round chimneys and balconied gables, reputedly under the direction of the famous architect Inigo Jones. This was probably when old defensive features such as the moat, the courtyard wall and an outer court were removed. The estate was further improved by Patrick, the 3rd Earl of Kinghorne and Strathmore. Glamis had been neglected under his father and had suffered for his support of the Covenanting cause and the Marquis of Montrose. Patrick inherited an estate burdened by $400,000 of debt. To his credit he paid this enormous sum off and then began his own improvements including building the north east wing. He was also a great patron of sculptors and commissioned many statues for the grounds, most of which no longer exist.
Glamis Castle is perhaps best known as the childhood home of the Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, youngest daughter of the 14th Earl who became Queen Elizabeth and mother of the present Queen.
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