Castle haunted by murdered cardinal yours for £1.65m


A CASTLE said to be haunted by the ghost of a murdered cardinal could be yours for £1.65m.

Stunning Ethie Castle, near Arbroath, Angus, was once home to Cardinal David Beaton, who had a reputation for the savage persecution of Protestants in the 16th Century.


Cardinal David Beaton


The cardinal got his comeuppance when he was butchered by Protestant nobles and his mutilated body hung out of a window.

A spine-tingling legend has it that the ghost of the cardinal can be heard at night as he parades slowly around Ethie, hindered by his gouty leg and recognised the unmistakable thumps as he drags it along behind him.

As well as supernatural lore, the castle boasts a secret staircase to a chapel, numerous ornate public rooms, tennis courts, outdoor swimming pool and a walled garden.




The majestic sandstone pile was built in the 14th by the Abbot and monks of Arbroath Abbey.

A small chapel and the Cardinal’s Sitting Room, with its secret staircase to the Great Hall above, still remains.

Beaton, who became the Cardinal and Chancellor of Scotland, was a powerful figure in the Catholic Church.




In 1545 he arranged for the arrest, trial and execution by burning of Protestant preacher George Wishart.

It was this that lead to the Cardinal’s demise when just one year later Protestant nobles extracted their revenge.

In 1546 a group, including Fife laird John Leslie of Parkhill who was angered by Wishart’s death, managed to get to Beaton after killing his porter.




The Cardinal was murdered and his corpse mutilated and hung out of a window for all to see.

Shortly after his death Beaton’s ghost was seen wandering around Ethie along with a dragging noise and unexplained footsteps.

Sightings have been concentrated at the the narrow staircase that leads to a secret doorway in his old bedroom.

The Cardinal is not the only ghost believed to haunt the castle.




Guest at the Ethie have also reported hearing the cries of a child at night followed by the sound of a wheeled toy being pulled across the floor.

Legend has it a secret room was discovered by a new governess of the castle after being kept awake by the sounds of a boy crying.

After breaking into the bricked up room it is said the skeleton of a child was found lying on the floor next to the remains of a little wooden cart.




As well as being known for its supernatural activity Ethie has been home to many notable people over the years.

In 1665 it was bought by the Earls of Northesk and is said to be the inspiration for the fictional Castle of Knockwhinnock in Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Antiquary.

Later it was restored by the chief of the Forsyth Clan Alistair Forsyth and served as the clan’s seat.




Ethie Castle is being advertised by Savills estate agent who describe it as “a most imposing and historic castle” but make no mention of the ghostly goings on.

The brochure explains: “In recent years the castle has been carefully restored.

“It has evolved over the centuries from its ancient beginnings and, with its wings and towers, forms a magnificent residence of great character.




“Architecturally the castle contains many fine features including four turnpike staircases, a balustraded tower, turrets and crow stepped gables.

“The barrel vaulted rooms, together with panelled rooms, decorative plaster work, fireplaces and window shutters all provide an insight into the history associated with the castle.”