Alongside, a photograph of the castle as it looked around 1912. It is now no longer clearly visible from a public access viewpoint. During winter a vague, dark outline of the tower be seen amongst the bare trees from a gateway on the main road, or from a passing bus.
A selection from a mid-1800's map of the grounds of the castle, showing its old name.
(French language version of the article below, on this page.)
AN ANCIENT SCOTTISH KEEP
"On rising ground, set amid trees of great age, stands, near the village of Monikie, a splendid specimen of the grim Scottish tower. Strongly built of hewn stone, square, its four storey surrounded with flag turret and cape house, Affleck Castle wears well its burden of five centuries. The Castle Hall, with stone vaulted roof, seems to have suffered comparatively little for the years since it echoed the tramp of mail-clad knight, or rang maybe with the wassail of the Lichtsome Lindsay. The third storey was the important section as a residence, and there the imagination seeks play as, on the main apartment, one enters the tiny chapel, or oratory, with its ambry, its holy water receptacle, and its piscina, constructed in the thickness of the wall itself, eloquent testimony to the resisting power of the massive masonry. The date of erection can only be conjectured, but that it possessed the grated iron door has been fairly well established, so that in the fifteenth century the owner of Affleck, or Auchinleck, had probably obtained from James the First or James the Second [of Scotland] the customary but necessary Royal sanction to "fortifie his house and to strengthen it with ane irne yhett."
Of sea and land Affleck Castle commands a wide view, and, sentinel-like, guards a district historically rich. Near is the cross of Camus, claimed by tradition as a burial-place of the Danish Chieftain, whose crushing defeat by King Malcolm the Second inspired the rhyme -
The Lochty separates the parish of Barry from the parish adjoining, and by its banks, according to the story of Hector Boece, Dane and Scot, in the year of grace 1012, struggled desperately for mastery. The Danes, smarting under a severe reverse at Mortlach at the hands of Malcolm, had assembled a mighty host in Denmark, and led by their most trusted commander, Camus sailed for Scotia. News of landing at Redhead, found Malcolm in camp at Dundee, and speedily he marched to meet the Dane. At Lochty's banks they met, and when the sun was low that day in the western sky, Malcolm was master on the stricken field, and Camus himself in flight, leaving, however, behind him in killed and wounded "twenty thousand horse and men". The victorious Scots followed hard after Camus, and overtook him near Monikie, but a mile or two from the battlefield. Again a desperate stand, with a like dire result for the Dane, and Camus himself sank to rise no more. And so here, tradition avers, they raised the cross to remember a great but unfortunate warrior.
Battle of Panmure
In the struggle that followed the death of the victor at Bannockburn, one of the important engagements was fought in this neighbourhood, and was styled the Battle of Panmure. A later Baliol had attempted again to play the role of puppet king to the English monarch, and was at first successful. Gathering the companions of Bruce and Wallace, what was left of them, Sir Andrew Moray, the Guardian, took the field, and gave battle to the usurper's army. The result was the routing of the English force, and the turning again of the tide of Scotia's fortunes.
For long the Lindsays were the real Kings of Forfarshire, holding vast territories in Angus and Mearns. Affleck Castle was then practically an outpost of theirs, and must have been witness of many a stirring scene. When the English held Broughty Castle they built a smaller fort on Forthill, partly to strengthen their hold on Broughty, but more to enable them to advance into the heart of Forfarshire. There were forays then, minor fights and assaults, and what is less unlikely than, that Affleck Castle, but five miles distant, should be free from the attention of the Sassenach, or that Auchinleck should fail to join in the efforts, ultimately successful, to drive the English out of Broughty.
It is possible that prior to the fifteenth century there was a Castle of Aghelek, as the name first appears, occupying the site of the present tower, for among the notables in the county of Forfar who in the year 1296 bent the knee to the Hammer of the Scots, Edward the First, was one Mathew de Napier, styled I "de Aghelek". A magnate without a castle was not probable. A few years later the proprietor of Aghelek or Affleck adopted the territorial name for it is on the record that "John de Aghelek" did homage to Edward of England for his lands in the county of Forfar. The name of "Aghelek" seems to point to Gaelic origin, and "a field of stones" would be a very appropriate title, since the bed of rock on which the land lies, as well as the stony nature of the soil, might readily suggest it.
Coming of the Lindsays
In the fifteenth century the Lindsays came on
the scene, for in 1459 the Earl of Crawford, as superior, is
averred to have renewed the marches of Aghelek, or Auchinleck.
The Auchinlecks of that Ilk held the Castle of Affleck then, and
were the allies, perhaps the vassals, of the powerful Clan
Lindsay. Influential in the counsels of the Lindsays the
Auchinleks had been, for when the former were at the zenith of
their power Auchinleck of that Ilk was one of that select circle,
that Privy Council, that at the headquarters of the Lindsays
guided their policy. The Auchinleks, too, were the hereditary
armour-bearers to the Lindsays - to the Earl of Balcarres - and
the Lindsays themselves held the Castle of Monikie, in the
neighbourhood of Affleck, the subterranean passages of which were
said to exist in comparatively recent days. Indeed, the farmer,
the story goes, who pulled down the old castle walls became
suddenly prosperous, the allegation being that he found a hoard
the Lindsays in their sudden flight had been unable to unearth.
Sir John Lindsay, the brother of the Tiger Earl, was probably the
founder of the Monikie branch. This Sir John fell at the famous
Battle of Brechin, fighting by the side of the Tiger Earl, and
there too, doubtless, had been Auchinleck, the Earl's armour-bearer,
for every friend of Lindsays was needed for that great fight.
This battle was an epoch-making one for Scotland, and was a
direct result of the murder of Earl Douglas in Stirling Castle by
King James. The three Earls - Douglas, Ross, and Crawford - had a
bond of mutual support even against the King, and with the dagger
James essayed to break that bond. At Brechin the Royal Army and
the Lindsays met, and a long and bloody struggle ensued. The
Lindsays fought gallantly, and looked like winning when at a
critical time Collace and his retainers deserted to the Royal
standard. The Tiger Earl was defeated but not broken, and
retreated towards Glenesk. He continued the struggle till the new
Earl of Douglas yielded, and finally he too,
"Bends on his knees, and with
The Auchinlecks appear to have had some
connection with the Melvilles of the Reformation, for in 1468 a
daughter of that house was married to Sir Alexander Auchinleck of
that Ilk. Like many other Scottish families, when
"The news frae Moidart cam' yestreen,
- the proprietors of Affleck of that day - Reids they were - yielded to the charm of the Stuart Pretender, and after Culloden had probably the price of rebellion to pay. Some years prior to the crushing of Prince Charlie, Thomas Reid had acquired the property from Gilbert Auchinleck, but the fact that a stone built into the stable wall bears the inscription "T.R.- 1748" seems to point to the Reids as still proprietors at that date. In the town of Dundee the Lindsays lived in splendour, and there too, in the then aristocratic Seagate, the Auchinlecks had their town house. The Records of the City of Dundee, preserved in the Town House, contain numerous references to the Auchinleck family, and there one with genealogical tastes would obtain abundance of material for the composition of a "Family Book".
While Edzell and Glenesk was specially the
domain of the Lindsays, there were few important corners in
Forfarshire where they had no hold. The lament for their fallen
fortunes pretty accurately shows their power:-
Bright star of the morning that beamed on
The son of the Tiger Earl held Broughty Castle for a time, and was Sheriff of Angus, but these honours he had to yield to Lord Gray, as unfortunately the Lindsays espoused the losing cause at Sauchieburn. This did not conclude the Lindsay connection with Broughty Castle, however, for in 1651, when General Monk sacked Dundee, he sent 500 horse to scour the district. The Committee of Estates, including the Earl of Crawford, were surprised by Monk's cavalry at Alyth, captured, and were sent as prisoners to Broughty Castle.
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