Mansion once owned by Scotland’s bloodiest judge for sale


A STUNNING mansion once owned by Scotland’s most “bloody” judge is up for sale.

Bannatyne House in Angus was built in the 16th century and boasts a wealth of renowned Scots owners.

But its most famous proprietor was a judge who imprisoned over a thousand Scots and left many of them to die – earning him the nickname George ‘Bloody’ Mackenzie.

Mackenzie, whose ghost is said to haunt Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, was the Lord Advocate responsible for the persecuting policy of Charles II in Scotland against the Presbyterian Covenanters.

After the Battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679 he imprisoned 1,200 men and women and executed most of them, sold some to slavery and left the rest to die of malnourishment.

His harsh treatment earned him the nickname “Bloody” Mackenzie, which has stuck ever since.

Bannatyne House in Angus
Bannatyne House in Angus


Now, wannabe lawyers and history buffs have the chance to get their hands on the house that he owned during the mid-17th Century for offers over £625,000.

The mansion in Newtyle boasts stone walls up to three feet thick, five bedrooms, three reception rooms, an annexe and a summer house, as well as an extremely rich history.

The property, with its crow-stepped gables and turrets, is surrounded by beautiful countryside. A sweeping gravel drive leads to the entrance complete with a small, round tower which used to be a dovecote.

The house is marketed by CKD Galbraith, who describe the property as being in an “enviable rural location, surrounded by beautiful countryside”.

A spokeswoman said: “As well as being of architectural interest, the house has been associated with a number of distinguished Scotsmen.

George ‘Bloody’ Mackenzie
George ‘Bloody’ Mackenzie


Less violent previous owners include George Bannatyne, who created a celebrated anthology of Scottish poetry, and who took refuge in the house during the 16th century plague which raged in Edinburgh.

And even Mackenzie is remembered, more kindly, as the founder of the National Library of Scotland.

He died in 1691 and was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, where his violent soul is said to terrorise locals and visitors alike.

It was reported in 1998 that a homeless man decided to break in Mackenzie’s tomb and tried to pry open a casket.

Legend has it that during his efforts he stepped backwards and fell into an old pit containing the remains of plague victims.

Mackenzie’s soul was allegedly so disturbed by the break-in that it now haunts the area, causing unexplained injuries to those who decide to visit.

Over 400 people have reported being “attacked” while on tours of the Kirkyard, including feeling hot or cold patches, scratches and bruises.

One person has even reported that they were knocked totally unconscious by the Mackenzie’s ghost.