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Vayne Castle


The ruin of the Z-plan Vayne Castle dates from the 16th century was built by the Lindsays. There is a Devil legend associated with the castle according to 'The History and Traditions of the Land of the Lindsays' (1882), which states that:

"The doings of Satan at this place are proverbial, and the umbrageous ravine through which the Noran tumbles its pellucid waters, is the very place which imagination would picture as his abode, and here, in all conceivable phases he reigned of old, and perhaps reigns still; for, according to provincial rhyme, this locality was his favourite place of residence-

“There’s a Brownie o’ Ba’quharn,
An’ the Ghaist o’ Brandieden;
But of a’ the places i’ the parish,
The De'il burns up the Vayne!”

Almost opposite Vayne Castle, on the lands of Markhouse, there is a spot of ground called “the De'il’s Hows,” where the notorious personage from which the place is named has made some wonderful manifestations of his presence, in even later times than our grandfathers; and from this place, which is a small hollow in the middle of a muir, large lumps of earth have been thrown to a great distance without any visible cause.

A further treasure legend is referred to in 'The history and traditions of the land of the Lindsays in Angus and Mearns' by Andrew Jervise (1853) ' An arched cellar or vault forms the ground-floor of the east wing, and is the only roofed part of the building; underneath there is said to be a deep dungeon into which the family, before taking their final departure, threw all their treasure of money and plate! This chamber has often been sought for, and only one person is believed to have found it; but when about to descend in search of the valuables, he was forcibly thrust from the entrance by an uncouth monster in the shape of a horned ox, that departed in a blaze of fire through a big hole in the wall (still pointed out!) and, before the terrified treasure-seeker could recover himself, the chasm, which he had wrought so hard to discover, was closed for ever to his view.'


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Ian Topham
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Re: Vayne Castle

According to 'The history and traditions of the land of the Lindsays in Angus and Mearns' by Andrew Jervise (1853) 'Popular tradition ascribes the erection of the castle of Vayne, or the old manor-house of Fern, to Cardinal Beaton, whither he is said to have resorted "for less consistent purposes than the fulfilment of his vow of celibacy," and a deep black pool in the river Noran, near the castle, is called Tammy s Pot, from a story that one of his sons, whom he had by a Lady Vayne, fell over the precipice and was drowned in it. Such is the tale; but, as shown in tracing the history of the transmission of the barony of Fern, Beaton never had any proprietary interest in the parish.'

The castle of Vayne stands on the north bank of the Noran,at the most rocky and precipitous part of the stream; between it and the stream there is a natural terrace- walk along the top of the rocks, where the lords and ladies of other days could muse unseen amidst a mass of wild and imposing scenery. The castle was originally three stories high, with a circular tower or staircase in the south-west corner, and is built of the soft red sandstone of the district. The workmanship has been very indifferent; still, although a total ruin, the only part presenting the original height being the gable-wall on the east, its former extent can without difficulty be traced. In the time of Earl Robert of Southesk, the castle was greatly improved; and, immediately subsequent to these alterations, Ochterlony described it as "a very good house, called the Waird, well planted, good yards, the house presently repaired by him [the Earl of Southesk], and well furnished within; it hath an excellent fine large great park called the Waird."



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