Edzell Castle & Yet Another Ancestral Discovery!

While I had been writing a blog post on May 13th about my last day of cycling on the Bike & Boat tour in The Netherlands, unbeknownst to me my cousin Lindsay had been sitting across from me at the table working away on his laptop and was busy planning another outing to some sights to visit near Montrose.
The following morning, I asked him over morning coffee what he might like to do that day and he replied, “I’m glad you asked! What do you think of this?” and he produced a draft itinerary that included two castles and a visit to a museum of a Royal Air Force station in Montrose.
“Wow! That sounds great!” I replied. “These look very interesting. I’ve never heard of Edzell Castle or Dunninald. What do you know about them?”
He explained that he had been to the ruinous remains of Edzell Castle years ago and that it had a really nice formal garden as he recalled. He also stated that although he had never been to Dunninald before he had ‘googled” it and it appeared to have a really nice walled garden that might be worth visiting. The third item on the list, the air station museum, might be worth a peek, even though he wasn’t sure how much it might interest me because it appeared to be rather small and therefore, not very significant or remarkable but it might be worth a look.
I agreed this itinerary and route looked great and was delighted with his suggestions.
I soon was busy making a picnic lunch for us and made preparations to spend the day exploring.  Before we left, however, he mentioned that I might want to check my family tree before we leave because Edzell Castle was built by the family of Lindsay, and he was pretty sure he remembered it had that surname in it.
I vaguely recalled seeing a Lindsay surname in my tree myself but hadn’t researched that branch. Knowing our incredible luck, however, I felt compelled to follow up on his suggestion and was extremely surprised when I did so!
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you are well aware of my interest in genealogy and family history and have been surprised over and over again when Lindsay and I go to visit a castle somewhere only to discover I have connections to them that I wasn’t aware of.
Edzell was no exception; there was yet another ancestral connection to a Scottish castle! Usually, the connections I find are through my father’s side through my great, great grandmother, Elizabeth Holliday, or “Princess Lizzy” as I like to call her, but this time the connection led to my mother, through the Stewart line! This is fantastic!
David Lindsay, Lord Edzell (1551 – 1610)
12th great-grandfather
Margaret Lindsay (1575 – 1614)
daughter of David Lindsay, Lord Edzell
Catherine Carnegie (1600 – 1655)
daughter of Margaret Lindsay
Lady Margaret Stewart (1620 – 1672)
daughter of Catherine Carnegie
Lady Mary Douglas (1655 – 1694)
daughter of Lady Margaret Stewart
Alexander Stewart (1675 – 1742)
son of Lady Mary Douglas
Alexander Stewart (1700 – 1732)
son of Alexander Stewart
Daniel Stewart (1731 – 1800)
son of Alexander Stewart
Archelaus Stewart (1771 – 1854)
son of Daniel Stewart
Martin Stewart (1803 – 1879)
son of Archelaus Stewart
Grace Ellen Stewart (1887 – 1954)
daughter of Walter Sullivan Stewart
Verna Emma Poling (1897 – 1981)
daughter of Grace Ellen Stewart
Daphne Claire Tholen (1919 – 2015)
daughter of Verna Emma Poling
Claudia Louise Frew
You are the daughter of Daphne Claire Tholen
We arrived at the ticket office and were soon exploring the displays inside and getting a sneak peek at what we would be exploring!

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After that brief history lesson, we headed back outside and began our explorations.
The walk through the grounds was so pretty and lovely, I couldn’t resist recording a video to put you in the mood…

Near the end of the first walkway I spied a rather handsome gentleman strutting his stuff on the other side of the castle walls I thought you might also enjoy…

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We walked along the northern side of the castle walls, admiring the burgeoning flower beds flanking the walls along the borders until we turned south around the corner tower revealing the castle’s front face and original entrance.

Now let’s begin our tour of Edzell Castle…IMG_2651


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Just to the left of the entrance on the inside of the castle, there was this door so we entered and it appeared to be a storehouse of sorts and included a peephole for guards to see who was approaching the castle’s front entrance.

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Back outside we worked our way around the castle in a clockwise direction and first came to the point where the entrance to the main living quarters would have been. We then climbed the stairs to see what was up there.

Back down the stairs again we approached the doorways in the corner under the principal living room.

Then we worked our way along the northern side of the castle through what used to be the kitchens.

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Working our way along the southern wall back toward the square tower we passed the gate to the garden. We will come back to that later; first, we’re headed into the tower!

The lowest level of the tower…



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Below is a picture of the inside of the fireplace’s chimney – it’s massive!


I continued to climb up to the upper levels while Lindsay continued his explorations below.

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Looking out the window, I discovered a wonderful view of the beautiful walled garden below!

Heading back down the stairs to the lower levels once again, I found another mason’s mark as I eagerly found my way to the garden.

The interpretive sign displays all the delightful elements we are going to explore next!

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Like the castle, Lindsay and I worked our way around the garden walls in a clockwise manner.


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Now, we’ll go inside to see what this summer house has inside its walls…

Before going up the spiral staircase to the floor up above, I went out the back door to see what it looked like.

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Inside the doorway, on the bottom floor, I discovered this…

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Back through the door in the round tower, I headed up the spiral staircase…

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Well, that was fun.  I really like the summer house.  Let’s continue exploring the south wall of the garden.


Then I came to the southwest corner and found the well and where the bathhouse used to be.

Finally, we explored the west wall back toward the tower.

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We walked along the outside of the eastern wall of the garden admiring the ornaments along the top of the wall on this side, then meandered back toward the car where we started. We were feeling a ‘wee bit peckish” when we spotted a picnic table and decided to enjoy our picnic lunch while we basked in the views of the wonderful castle and gardens that we had just finished exploring.

After lunch, we drove to the churchyard just down the road and made some further discoveries.IMG_2857


We wandered about the churchyard, finding some interesting and unusual stones when we came upon this building.

Turns out the building was part of once was the original church and this remaining portion within the church was where the Lindsay’s vault was located!

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We couldn’t go inside, but I was able to get some pictures of some remaining stones.

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Near the church on the other side of the road, we spied the hill where the original castle would have stood, but I was remiss and didn’t get a picture of it.  Dang.

We traveled further down the road toward the coast and Montrose to see if we could find Dunninald Castle & Gardens.

That’s a whole other adventure I’m going to save for my next post, so stay tuned! Hope you’ve enjoyed exploring another castle with special ancestral ties for me as much as I did.  Until the next time…

Attitude of Gratitude ~ I am ever so grateful for the time I spent building my family tree in Ancestry.com.  It took a long time to do, but I am so happy I took the time to do it. It has proven invaluable in calculating the ancestral ties I have to so many wonderful castles in Scotland. I don’t think I would’ve ever put the connections together without its resources. Someday soon I’m going to have to compile a list of all the castles and my ancestral families associated with them for my own descendants and other family members.


Author: Claudia Frew

Adventuresome, independent, and fun-loving 68-year young American great-grandmother who loves to travel; often going solo!

3 thoughts on “Edzell Castle & Yet Another Ancestral Discovery!”

    1. Yea! The National Trust takes really good care of the properties that are in their care. I would love to volunteer in some of their gardens. They are amazing. We are going to visit another one of their places this weekend, Leith Hall and they have amazing gardens. I met one of their volunteer gardeners last year. I was so envious of her!


    2. I would love to see Edzell later in the year when they plant purple and white lobelia interchangeably in the checkerboard pattern in the garden walls. I bet that looks gorgeous!


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