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Castles of Clan Hay

Inshoch


painting by Andrew Spratt

 

Inshoch/Inchoch Castle and the Hay family.

North east of Inverness stands the late 16th century rubble ruin of Inshoch, or as it was originally known Inchoch castle. The castle was an oblong Z-plan towerhouse, with the north west corner drum tower large enough to house rooms on each storey. While the narrower south east drum tower held the main turnpike stair well accessing all levels. Both of these drum towers and their a joining elongated bartizans were capped by conical roofs. The main oblong block itself was crowned by a crowstepped gabled angled roof as suggested in the reconstruction painting. Later a lean-to block house, possibly a new kitchen and storage area was added to the west side. Very little remains of this and likely it was the first section to be stripped by the 18th century stone robbers as the fell into decay.

                Anciently the castle lands were held by the Hay family, the Hays of Lochloy a cadet branch of the Hays, Earls of Erroll of Old Slains castle. However the present ruin of Inchoch dates from around 1580. And may have suffered the wrath of King James VI of Scots (1567-1603) when he attacked the Hay strongholds of Delgatie and Old Slains in 1594,because the Hays were involved in the secret 'Treaty of the Spanish blanks'. Whereby the Hays, the Gordons of Huntly castle and the Douglases of Tantallon castle planned to overthrow the King and expected the arrival of a new Spanish Armada to aid their rebellion. Although the Hays and Gordons defeated the King's army led by the Campbells and MacLeans at the battle of Glenlivet the Spanish forces failed to reach Scotland. King James himself with fresh forces then destroyed Delgatie, Old Slains, slighted Huntly and seized Douglas castles in the south. However, there is the suggestion that Inchoch fell into decay when it passed to the Brodies in 1695.

article by Andrew Spratt
November 2001A.D.
spratt@supanet.com



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