//The Grey Lady of Aberdour

The Grey Lady of Aberdour

Aberdour Castle, the tower house dates back to the 12th century, is believed to be oldest stone castle that remains standing in Scotland.

Originally built for the Mortimer family, ownership was passed to the Douglas family in 1351, who began to extend the building, adding additional accommodation. In the 15th century, the tower house was increased in height and over the subsequent centuries, further refurbishment and extension work was carried out to transfer the castle from being a defensive home, to a more luxurious dwelling.

In the 17th century, disaster struck when the castle was badly damaged in a fire. The family moved to the neighbouring Aberdour House while the castle was being prepared to be restored, but did not return. A further fire in the 18th century destroyed much of the castle, with only the east range remaining intact. While the rest of the castle was left to decay, the east range was used for many purposes, including military barracks, a school and a community hall. In 1924, ownership of the castle passed to HM Office of Works, who carried out works to stabilise the derelict section of the building and relay the gardens. Today the castle is operated and maintained by Historic Scotland.

Reports of the mysterious grey lady, so called as she is described as a shadow like figure, date back centuries. She is most often seen gliding through the garden grounds, and as she has no interaction with anyone who has witnessed her, is said to be a residual ghost.

Another, more physical spirit is however said to lurk in the castle itself. In a documented case, a team of masons arrived to carry out come repairs to the castle early one morning, but found the door to the east range still locked. Due to poor weather, they sought shelter in the former stable  block while they waited for the key-holder to arrive. The stables sit below the east range, and while they were waiting, they heard heavy items being dragged across the floor above. Thinking someone was in the building, they checked the door again and shouted to try to attract their attention, but the door was locked and there was no reply to their cries. When they key-holder arrived, the confirmed there should be no-one in the castle. They all went to check, and found that several items of replica medieval furniture was sitting in the middle of the room, many of which took 2 masons to be able to move back.

Perhaps this was the grey lady, in a more physical form, trying to make the room look more like it did when she was alive.