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The History of Guthrie Castle

Guthrie Castle is a daunting castle and country house based in Angus, Scotland. It is situated in dense woodland in the quaint village of Guthrie which is roughly 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) east of Forfar, and 29 kilometres (18 mi) northeast of Dundee. While it dates way back to the 15th century, much of the building you see today only dates back to the 19th century.

Guthrie Castle. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The history of Guthrie Castle

Much like the castles nearby, Guthrie Castle has a very limited history. However, what is known is quite the tale. With quarrels, feuds, murders, forfeits, and even a friendly ghost within the castle walls. Let’s take a look into this history and find out more below!

The early history

File:James II of Scotland 17th century.jpg
James II of Scotland. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The very original tower at Guthrie Castle was built by the Guthries of Kincaldrum around the year 1470. Sir David Guthrie, the 1st laird was the Armour Bearer to James II. On top of this, he was also Lord High Treasurer of Scotland as well as Lord Chief Justice. At the Battle of Flodden in 1513, Sir Alexander Guthrie, another member of the family, was killed.

Another member of the family married a Gardyne in the year 1558 and their son, who was quarrelling with his relatives at the time, was consequently stabbed to death by his cousin on the Gardyne side. This then launched a long feud between many members of the family. Patrick Gardyne was slain in the year 1578 by William Guthrie and ten years on from that, the Gardyne family successfully murdered a Guthrie laird.

The feud continues

Two years after the laird was murdered, the Guthries fell upon the Gardyne family. They then went forth and murdered their chief and many other members. Both of these families were then forfeited by James VI which resulted in them losing their land. The Gardynes never recovered their land, the Guthries, however, did manage to recover theirs.

Remodelling Guthrie Castle

In the year 1848, the castle was successfully remodelled by David Bryce and the estate was held by his family until the late 1980s. These days, the Guthries reside in Australia. It is not known exactly what was remodelled, however, it was said to be a rather large effort. In 1984, the castle was purchased by Daniel S. Peña, Sr who is an American businessman.

File:David Bryce by George McCallum, SNPG.JPG
Architect David Bryce. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Making news

In the year 2016, the castle made headlines and not in a good way! It was featured in the news because an employee managed to double or triple book weddings and then pocketed the money for themselves. The employee managed to defraud an accumulated £130,000 and then flee. He chose to flee to Ibiza; however, the owners of the castle were made to pay back the money.

The employee was soon found and was tried and sent to prison for 2.5 years which many didn’t believe was enough time.

The current day

In 2003, the castle, with its manicured walled gardens and stunning lawns, was open to the public as the perfect location for outdoor weddings. It was an exclusive venue with a 200-seat pavilion, 22 large bedrooms, and even a private 9-hole golf course. Unfortunately, in 2017, after a rather large fraud investigation, the owners decided that it will no longer be open to the public and will remain a private house from then on.

The castle is also said to host a very kind ghost who is likely a spirit of one of the Guthrie ladies or their servants. Apparently, she is dressed in black, and she holds a large set of keys.

You may also enjoy reading about the oldest occupied castle in Scotland, Dunvegan Castle.

Guthrie Castle Timeline

  • 1470- The very original tower at Guthrie Castle is built by the Guthries of Kincaldrum
  • 1848- The castle is successfully remodelled by David Bryce
  • 1983-The Guthrie family leave the castle and move to Australia
  • 2003-The castle is open to the public for exclusive events
  • 2016-The castle makes headlines because an employee managed to double or triple book weddings and then pocketed the money for themselves
  • 2017-The owners decide that it will no longer be open to the public and will remain a private house from then on

Facts about Guthrie Castle

  • The motto of the clan who lived at the castle was, “who Sto Pro Veritate” (I stand on account of truth)
  • It is often referred to as one of Scotland’s most romantic castles
  • Guthrie Castle sits on 156 acres of grounds and has two gardens. One being a wildflower garden and the walled garden
  • It is now a private family home, which is used for various hire functions and is not visible from any public roads
  • Entrapment (1999)

Who owns Guthrie Castle?

In 1984, Guthrie Castle was purchased by Daniel S. Peña, Sr. He is a very successful American businessman. Daniel was able to completely restore the castle to its 19th-century condition and in doing that, he also built a large golf course within the estate. It is now his private home.

File:Dan at Guthrie Castle (Graduation Night).jpg
Daniel S. Peña, Sr. The current owner. Source: Wikimedia Commons.


After the large fraud case that Daniel S. Peña, Sr had to deal with, he chose to shut the castle off to the public and instead make it his private residence. Seminars and conferences are sometimes held there, but overall, he is the only one allowed to freely come and go from the castle. The castle cannot be seen from the road, so you can’t even drive past to get a glimpse.

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