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The Hauntings of Ashintully Castle

Situated in a remote location, close to the small village of Kirkmichael, Ashintully Castle was built as a fortified tower house for Colonel David Spalding in 1583.

The Spalding family were longstanding supporters of the Scottish Monarchy, and Colonel David had taken his forces to fight for the King of Spain in the 8-year battle for Flanders. It was plunder brought back from Flanders that he used to build the castle, which was based on the nearby Whitefield Castle, a hunting lodge built for King Malcolm III in 1060.

Difficult times at the Castle

His son, Andrew Spalding, became the head of the Clan upon the death of Colonel David and was the first Spalding to occupy the castle long-term. However, it seems that for an unknown reason, he was deeply unpopular to the extent that in 1587 a group put together by his neighbours kidnapped him and held him prisoner. After being subjected to torture, he was eventually released and sought the help of the King, who declared his captors to be rebels.

The loyalty to the monarchy ceased with the next generation of the Spalding Family, with his successor, David, being involved in the Gowrie Conspiracy, an incident shrouded in mystery that was most likely a failed attempt to kidnap King James VI. The Castle later provided refuge for the famous outlaw, Rob Roy MacGregor, and for Jacobite leaders. In the 19th century, the castle passed into the ownership of the Aytoun family, with successive generations staying there until 1948 when it was again sold. Today the castle remains a family home, with the estate offering high-class accommodation and outside sporting facilities.

Paranormal Activity

The castle is said to be home to at least three spirits, each born from different tragic events during the castle's troublesome history.

Green Jean

The best-known castle ghost is none other than Green Jean. Although bearing the same name as Green Jean of Wemyss Castle and a similar name to Green Jeanie of Balgonie Castle, there is no connection. The tale behind the phantom is one of murder and vengeance.

The story tells that Jean was a senior family member, who was quite a dominant woman and liked to get her own way. According to the legend, although she knew that in these superstitious times green was seen as a faerie colour and not one to be worn, she decided she was going to wear a green dress to a family function, caring not for any objections.

It seems this was the final straw for her uncle, who had put up with her disrespect for years, and upon hearing of her intentions, he went to her chamber in a rage. He found her in her quarters with her maid in attendance, where an argument started which led to a violent outburst when he killed them both.

The maid's body is said to have been rather unceremoniously hidden in a fireplace of the castle, while his niece's body had a more respectful burial at the family burial ground. Her spirit, however, could not rest and is said to have roamed the castle ever since, seeking justice for her murder.

Crooked Davie

The castle is also said to be haunted by another vengeful spirit known as Crooked Davie. In life, it is said that although suffering from a disability resulting in him having a hunchback, he was a fine runner, and it was this which led him to be employed at the castle as a messenger to deliver messages quickly across the estate and beyond.

On a day when a grand banquet was being held at the castle, he was asked to deliver an urgent message. Davie was reluctant to go as he knew that whenever there was a banquet, the house staff would be allowed to feast on the leftover food, a rare treat he did not wish to miss. He was, however, proud of his reputation and loyal to his duties, so he set off as fast as he could to deliver the message, hoping he would get back in time to enjoy a well-earned meal.

He made good time, and when he returned to the castle, he found that the banquet was still ongoing. Knowing his position was such that he should not interrupt the festivities, he waited in the hallway for the banquet to finish as he had a response to the message he had just delivered for his master. Exhausted from his run, he dozed off as he waited.

As he slept, the guests began to leave the banquet hall, and his master found him snoozing in front of the fire. He could not believe that Davie could have possibly carried out his task so quickly, and seeing that he had papers in his pocket, convinced him that his message had not been delivered. No doubt under the influence of alcohol, he drew his sword and slew Davie for what he believed was disobedience, only to find when he removed the papers from his loyal servant's pocket that it was the reply. There have been reports of Davie's spirit roaming the castle ever since, unable to find peace due to his unjust treatment.

The Tinker

A third ghost reported at the castle is that of a tinker who was executed for trespassing after being found on the property with no just cause.

It is said that he was hanged from a tree on the long drive to the castle, and as the noose was being placed around his neck, he uttered a curse that the Spalding family line at Ashintully would soon end.

The curse came true, and it was not long after this that ownership passed to the Aytoun family. Yet the fulfilment of the curse did not allow the tinker's spirit to rest and he is still seen, sometimes with Crooked Davie, shouting his curse to anyone who will listen.

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