Grey Lady of Glamis

The Grey Lady of Glamis haunts the family chapel and the Clock Tower of the world-famous Glamis Castle.  Steeped in centuries of tale and legend, the castle has been standing since the late 1300’s, and has seen its fair share of goings-on.  The Grey Lady of Glamis is believed to be Lady Janet Douglas, burned at the stake as a witch in 1537, and who has haunted the grounds of Glamis Castle ever since. Family feuds involving illegitimate children, forced imprisonment, civil wars and seizures of lands and titles fuelled King James V’s hatred towards his stepfather, Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus.  Once married to his mother, Margaret Tudor, tensions had become bitterly acrimonious, to the point that the King held nothing but contempt for the Archibald Douglas and the Clan Douglas. Imprisoned by his stepfather and held against his will, King James V was finally broken free and Janet quickly became the target of his revenge.  Archibald Douglas fled to England, leaving Janet in the firing line.

In 1528, upon the death of her first husband, John Lyon, 6th Lord of Glamis, Janet was immediately summoned for treason, accused of supporting the civil war against the King and of poisoning Lyon.  Charges were eventually dropped, and she remarried Archibald Campbell in 1532, having ceased all communication with her brothers to prove her innocence in any plot against the King.  Janet’s reprieve was short-lived, however, as in 1537, she was once again summoned for treason.

This time, the charges brought against her included being in secret talks with the Douglas clan, attempting to poison the King and witchcraft.  Glamis Castle was confiscated by the Crown, and Janet’s family and servants were savagely tortured until they gave false evidence against her.  Even her young son was forced to watch the torture before he too, was put to the rack.  These testimonies were enough to convict Janet of witchcraft, and she was burned at the stake as a witch in the grounds of Edinburgh Castle.  It is said King James forced her son to watch her agonising death before letting him go.

Many witnesses claim to have seen the Grey Lady of Glamis whilst visiting Glamis Castle, so why not visit it yourself and see if you can spot her?

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7 thoughts on “Grey Lady of Glamis

  • August 10, 2015 at 11:44 am

    I remember about 17 years ago me a friend and her dad drove around the grounds of Glamis Castle I was 11 andI remember looking out the back window of the car and saying to her dad that Ih ad just seen a woman pass wearing a grey dress, not knowing anything about the Grey Lady had not even heard of Glamis before.. Wasn’t until about 8 years later working in Kirriemuir a woman came into my work to ask if I knew the opening times of Glamis Castle, I said I didn’t but would lookup on the internet for her, upon doing this I spotted the story of The Grey Lady who haunts the ground, proper spooked I phoned my mum and told her that must have been the ghost I saw….

  • December 27, 2015 at 3:40 am

    We lived on Afflochie Farm, between Fern and Kerrimure in the 70s, and visited Glamis many times but did not see they Grey Lady. Recently, I discovered that she is in my ancestry…

  • March 2, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    On a guided tour of Glamis Castle, enjoying the day very much and happy to be there, my Mother and I were led by the guide into the chapel and told to take a seat. The tour guide walked to the front of the chapel and waited for the group to all take their seats. By the time the last person entered and sat down, I was already wanting to leave the chapel.
    An immense and overpowering feeling of complete and utter sadness and total despair had taken grip of me. I turned to my Mum and said “Oh my goodness, I feel so sad all of a sudden, I can’t explain it!” My Mum just looked at me as tears started to roll down my face which I couldn’t stop. I was so embarrassed and confused as minutes ago I had been fine and happy to be on the tour of Glamis.. but the chapel.. I couldn’t wait to leave. I didn’t see anything but I felt emotions of incredible sadness and what I can, to this day, only describe as despair. It really shook me up. I was fine the rest of the day and the rest of the tour of the Castle.. but something just overwhelmed me in that chapel and I hadn’t even known about the Ghost on the day of my visit.

  • May 12, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    I did a tour of Glamis last week and found it amazing. However it was the story of Janet Douglas that I just can’t stop thinking about. It was terrible, barbaric and horrific what happened to her and on the say so from her husband. Like the previous comment about overcome by sadness at the chapel, it was the story of Janet Douglas I was taken aback with. That poor poor lady

    • May 12, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      It was awful and happened to so many people just on hearsay, a terrible time in our past for sure.

  • January 17, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    My understanding is that the chapel wasn’t built until long after Lady Janet’s death as I explain in my book Phantoms and Fairies.

    • January 17, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      Thanks Forbes for letting us know, we’ll have a look and update the article.

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