Life in Newburgh on Ythan

By Talpa

Mad Jack's lad was born here.

The ruins of Gight Castle, a 16th-century L-plan tower house, are situated high on the Braes of Gight, above the River Ythan, 4 miles East of Fyvie. The site was home to the Gordons from about 1480 when they acquired the land. George, the second Laird, built the Castle in 1560, following the death of his father at the Battle of Flodden. 

The Gordons of Gight were an unlucky family suffering more than their fair share of murders, executions, drownings and death in battle. Catherine Gordon was the 13th and last Laird of Gight Castle. Her husband, Mad Jack Byron, was a notorious spendthrift and gambler and in 1787 the Castle had to be sold in order to clear his gambling debts. Their son was Lord Byron, the poet. 

The Castle was purchased by the 3rd Earl of Aberdeen who gave it to his son Lord Haddo and his wife Charlotte Baird. Sadly, Lord Haddo was killed soon after when he fell from his horse at Gight. The castle was then abandoned and gradually fell into its current ruinous state.

Like any castle worth its salt, Gight is thoroughly haunted; a piper was sent to explore an underground passage and did not return - the sound of pipes can still be heard at the Castle, although the piper is never seen. 

Extra. The Castle stands high on a bank overlooking the Ythan River, and a pool known as Hagberry Pot which is reputed to be bottom-less. In 1664 when Gight was sacked by the Covenanters the 7th Laird threw his jewels into Hagberry Pot to prevent them from being stolen. When peace returned the Laird sent a serf down into the pot to recover the jewels. The unfortunate serf returned to the surface without the jewels, but visibly shaken and claiming that the Devil himself was down there guarding them. The Laird, being a kindly soul, immediately forced the diver to go back down. Some time later the diver's body, now severed into four pieces, gently floated to the surface. The Laird's jewels were never recovered, so if you should fancy your luck .....

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