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[10] Druminnor Castle - "Woops!" | by arjayempee
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[10] Druminnor Castle - "Woops!"

(There would have been a courtyard where the drive now is. When in 1963 preliminary trenches were cut in the ground to the east of the main house and to the north of the terrace it became clear that there were foundations remaining of extensive courtyard buildings from several periods.)


I have described elsewhere the details of the most infamous event in the clan warfare between the Gordons and Forbeses - the burning to death at Corgarff Castle of the family of Forbes of Towie, by a band of Gordons, while John Master of Forbes was being led away to his captivity at Spynie Castle. There was a final sequel to these incidents, that occurred right here at Druminnor, which is related in Picken’s Traditional Stories of Old Families, from which I quote directly:


"Subsequent to this tragical affair," says the writer, "a meeting for reconciliation took place between a select number of the heads of the two houses in Lord Forbes’ castle of Druminnor. The difference being at length made up, both parties sat down to a banquet.


The eating being ended, the parties were at their drink (the serious part of the evening!). ‘Now,’ said Huntly to his neighbour chief, ‘as this business has been satisfactorily settled, tell me, if it had not been so, what it was your intention to have done.’


‘There would have been bloody work,’ said Forbes, ‘bloody work, and we would have had the best of it. I will tell you. See, we are mixed one and one, Forbeses and Gordons; I had only to give a sign by the stroking down of my beard, and every Forbes was to have drawn the skean from under his left arm, and stabbed to the heart his right-hand man.’ As he spoke, Forbes suited the sign to the word, and stroked down his flowing beard. In a moment a score of skeans were out, flashing in the light of the pine torches held behind the guests. In another moment they were buried in as many hearts; for the Forbeses, whose eyes constantly watched their chief, mistaking this involuntary motion for the agreed sign of death, struck their weapons into the bodies of the unsuspecting Gordons.


The chiefs’ looked at each other in silent consternation. At length Forbes said, ‘This is a sad tragedy we little expected; but what is done cannot be undone, and the blood that now flows on the floor of Druminor will just help to slocken the auld fire of Corgarf.’"


(Other versions of this story state that the number of Gordons killed in this mass-stabbing was 15. The events are also said to have occurred in Castle Fraser.)

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Taken on August 29, 2010