History of Methven Castle


Methven Castle lies to the west of Perth and stands on elevated ground to the east of the village of Methven. This historical castle is steeped in history.

Methven Castle is first mentioned as early as 976AD. The King of Scotland, King Culen, who was crowned in 972AD, was, as a consequence of his wayward lifestyle, summoned to attend a specially convened Parliament in Scone, where it was planned that he would be deposed. However, en-route to that meeting he was slain by Cadhard, Thane of Methven, whose daughter he had de-flowered.

In the 12th century, the owners, the Norman Family of De-Mowbray, supported the English in the Wars of Independence.

The Governor of Stirling Castle was a member of the De-Mowbray family and after the battle of Bannockburn in 1314, King Robert I, Robert the Bruce confiscated their estates to the Crown and bestowed Methven on his only daughter Marjorie Bruce (b.1296, m.1315, d.1316). Marjorie was married to Walter Stewart (b.1293, d.1326) 6th High Steward of Scotland. Their son, Robert II was heir to the House of Bruce and eventually inherited the Scottish throne when his maternal uncle, David II, died without issue, thus the Stewart dynasty began.

The 2nd son of Robert II, Walter Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl (birth unknown, d.1437) was executed for compliance in the murder of James I of Scotland . Methven reverted to the crown again and later became part of the lands for the Queen Dowager of Scotland Margaret Tudor eldest daughter of Henry VII of England and the elder sister of Henry VIII.

Margaret married James IV of Scotland in 1503 but was widowed after the battle of Flodden Field in 1513. Their son James V gave a Royal Charter of the Lordship and Barony of Methven and Balquidder to Margaret and her third husband Henry Stuart Lord Methven (b. 1495, d. 1552) on their marriage in 1528. Margaret had previously married and divorced Archibald Douglas VI Earl of Angus. Queen Margaret later died at Methven Castle in 1541, aged 52.

After Queen Margaret’s death, Henry Stuart 1st Lord Methven (b. 1495, d. 1552), married a second time to Janet Stewart, daughter of John Stewart 2nd Earl of Atholl. Their eldest son was Henry Stuart, 2nd Lord Methven (birth unknown, d. 1572) who was killed by a canon ball while under siege at Broughton near Edinburgh. He left a son Henry, 3rd Lord Methven, who died without issue in 1584 and Methven reverted to the Crown again.

Later that year James VI bestowed Methven Castle upon a distant cousin, Ludowick Stewart, 2nd Duke of Lennox who owned the castle from 1584 until 1664 when it was purchased by Patrick Smythe of Braco. The Smythe family retained ownership until 1921.

Since then custodianship has lain with:

  • The Cox Family – 1921 – 1951
  • The Holden Family – 1951 – 1965
  • Mr J D H Hayter – 1965 – 1980
  • The Mrs H C Pilkington Trust – 1980 – 1984
  • The Murdoch Family – 1984 – To date