Clan Leslie Society
Australia & New Zealand

(CLANZ)




Pitcaple Castle, Aberdeenshire - David Leslie, First Baron of Pitcaple was the eldest son of Sir William Leslie, 4th Baron of Balquhain by his third wife Ephemia Lindsay, heiress of William Lindsay of Cairney, who was the second son of David Lindsay 1st Earl of Crawford and his wife Janet, daughter of King Robert II.

Sir William Leslie of Balquhain resigned the lands of Pethapil [Pitcaple] in favour of his son on the occasion of the marriage of his son David to Euphemia Lindsay, 5th March 1457. The Castle of Pitcaple is situated on the banks of the river Urie, in the parish of The Chapel of Garioch, on the north side of the hill just two miles from the Castle of Balquhain.

The Castle was in the possession of the Leslie family for exactly three hundred years, before it passed to the Lumsden family through the marriage of Janet Leslie, the sister of Sir James Leslie, 10th Baron of Pitcaple, to John Lumsden, Professor of Divinity in the University and Kings College Aberdeen. Janet Leslie and John Lumsden had two daughters, who inherited the Castle in 1757 and sold it to a relative, Henry Lumsden, a solicitor in Aberdeen, whose descendant, Christopher Burges-Lumsden and family live in the Castle today.

Pitcaple Castle is not a large Castle, but is a fine example of the Scottish "Z' plan. It had two towers diagonally opposite each other and all four walls could be protected from the towers, through firing slits and shotholes. There was a moat with a large drawbridge and the remains of the counterbalances can still be seen in the keep. It is, unfortunately, the only former Leslie home, which is still used as a family residence.

There have been many notable events at Pitcaple Castle. One event was the imprisonment of the great " Montrose", after he had been captured in April 1650 and brought to Pitcaple Castle on the way to his trial and execution on the 21st May 1650. Agnes Ramsay, cousin to Montrose and wife of John Leslie, 7th Baron of Pitcaple offered to help him escape, but he would not compromise her and the room that he was held prisoner in, is now called "Montrose's room.

When King James IV visited the Castle in 1511, his host was David Leslie, 3rd Baron of Pitcaple and the room that King James IV slept in, is now called "The Kings Room". In July 1650, King Charles II sailed from Holland and landed at Garmouth on the River Spey and on his journey south, he sent word to John Leslie 7th Baron of Pitcaple that he would dine with him and he was accompanied by a large court, therefore Lt Col John Leslie had to hurriedly purchase more provisions to feed the visitors. When King Charles crossed the River Urie, he remarked on how the land reminded him of England and that farm has been called "England" ever since.

It is certain that the survivors of the Battle at Harlaw, which is only two miles downstream from Pitcaple would have received refreshment and help there, as well as at Balquhain Castle which is closer to Harlaw than Pitcaple. During the battle of Harlaw, six sons of Sir Andrew Leslie 3rd Baron of Balquhain were slain and a cross was raised on the site and called Leslie's Cross.