Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Invermark Castle - a refuge for an owner with a dark secret

Invermark Castle lies in remote Glen Esk in Angus, the nearest town being Edzell. It consists of a tall four storey tower house, the lower part dating from the early 16th century but the upper from an early 17th century rebuild when the gun-loops were added.

Invermark Castle in Glen Esk*

The interior is inaccessible as the first floor entrance is protected by barbed wire (the writer’s trousers can attest) and an iron yett.

LEFT: Invermark Castle photographed in the 1920s – hard to believe this was 100 years ago
RIGHT: The same view of Invermark Castle today – note the two gun-loops

Invermark was abandoned as a residence after 1729. In 1803 its outbuildings were dismantled to build the nearby Lochlee Parish Church and manse.

LEFT: Invermark's rounded arch entrance with an iron yett at first floor level and 'Keep Out' notice **
RIGHT: The opposite side of Invermark – note the rounded corners due to a lack of free stone **

The present appearance is deceptive as the stone would have been hidden beneath a covering of lime render.

Although ruinous it is in good condition and would readily adapt itself to occupation.

Historical Note – David Lindsay's alleged involvement with Lord Spynie's murder

Invermark appears to have had a reasonably peaceful history but it proved a useful refuge in 1607.

Due to a long standing quarrel with Lord Spynie, David Lindsay and his associates attacked him as he was walking along the High Street in Edinburgh. Spynie was shot through the arms and ribs and then had his body run through with swords. Lindsay fled to the safety of his safe house at Invermark.

From there he had the gaul to petition King James VI for ‘clemency’, claiming that it had been ‘accidental’. As we say in Scotland ’Aye right’.

King James was not deceived, but Lindsay’s head would not help Spynie’s young children, so he granted him a pardon on the condition that he transferred a large part of his estate to Spynie’s son and daughter along with the sum of 4,000 marks.

The young Spynie thrived and went on to have a successful career, rising to high rank under the King of Denmark during the Thirty Years War. As for David Lindsay he died the same year.

Article by Scottish Castles Association member Brian McGarrigle.

* Photograph of Invermark Castle by daedmike is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

** Thanks to Scottish Castles Association members John Buchanan-Smith and John Pringle.

Added: 04 Oct 2020 Updated: 16 Oct 2023
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