The Castle of Mey (formerly Barrogill Castle) and surrounding lands belonged to the Bishops of Caithness. The castle of Mey was built between 1566 and 1572, possibly on the site of an earlier fortification, by George Sinclair, 4th Earl of Caithness. Originally a Z-plan tower house of three storeys, it had a projecting wing at the south-east, and a square tower at the north-west. The Castle passed to George Sinclair"s younger son William, founder of the Sinclairs of Mey, although it later became the seat of the Earls. The Castle"s name was changed to Barrogill, and it was extended several times, in the 17th and 18th centuries, and again in 1821 when Tudor Gothic style alterations were made, to designs by William Burn. Barrogill passed out of the Sinclair family in 1889, on the death of the 15th Earl, and in 1928 it was purchased by Captain Imbert-Terry. The Castle was used as an officers" rest home during the Second World War, and in 1950 the estate farms were sold off.

The castle was in a semi-derelict state when, in 1952, it and its policies (attached lands) were purchased by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, the widow of King George VI who had died earlier in the year. The Queen Mother set about restoring the castle for use as a holiday home, removing some of the 19th-century additions, and reinstating the Castle"s original name. She regularly visited it in August and October from 1955 until her death in March 2002, the last visit being in October 2001.

In July 1996 The Queen Mother made the property, the policies and the farm over to the Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust, which has opened the castle and garden to the public regularly since her death. It is now open in summer season.

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Founded: 1566-1572
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Anne Fletcher (3 years ago)
Wonderful and in amazing location. Fantastic 5o see the Queen Mothers favourite home
Michael Pines (4 years ago)
Awesome and well worth the trip. Loved all the stories. When we were there a few months ago, one of the Queen’s former Butler was part of the tour.
Carole Newton (4 years ago)
Outstanding, we had a very knowledgeable tour guide, John, who made the visit so interesting. Beautiful Castle that must be up kept to the high standards it deserves. We owe a debt of gratitude to our wonderful Queen Mother.
Philomena Mason (4 years ago)
Really enjoyed the personal anecdotes from the guides. Very informative and could imagine the Royal family members there on holiday from the memories that were shared. The experience was an intimate one and we were made to feel more like valued guests than tourists!
Chris Colter (4 years ago)
We enjoyed the castle tour very much. Our tour guide Hazel was wonderful. So friendly and interesting. She had so much personal knowledge of the Gueen Mum which made it feel like a personal home. Enjoyed seeing the clothing that the royal mum wore also.
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