Spynie Castle was the fortified seat of the Bishops of Moray for about 500. The founding of the palace dates back to the late 12th Century. It is situated about 500m from the location of the first officially settled Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Moray, in present-day Spynie Churchyard.
The first castle was a wooden structure built in the late 12th century. The excavated evidence suggests that the buildings were surrounded by a rectangular ringwork and ditch which seem to have enclosed an area of roughly the same as the 14th-century curtain wall, i.e., an enclosure of 45 – 65m and is large even by medieval ringworks found elsewhere in Britain. It is likely that the buildings would have consisted of the bishop's house with a hall, a bed chamber and a chapel and also holding a brewhouse and a bakehouse.
The stone buildings first appeared in the 13th century with the establishment of what was thought to have been a chapel and which had coloured glass windows. The remaining wooden buildings were gradually replaced with stone, and this continued through into the 14th century when the first main castle building was erected. This was a near-square structure built within a 7-metre-high curtain wall.
The most significant buildings were established in the later 15th century through into the 16th century when David's Tower was built along with other substantial accommodation areas. The tower is the largest by volume of all medieval Scottish towers measuring 19m by 13.5m and 22m.
Following the restoration of Episcopacy to the Scottish Church in 1662 ownership of the castle passed back to the church, but it was starting to fall into decay.
Major work to stabilise the structure was undertaken during the late 1970s using a large scaffold. Ultimately a curtain wall was reinstated disguising a large concrete plinth that prevents the tower from collapsing.References:
Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).
Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.
Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.
An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".