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  • Writer's pictureGreg Stewart

The Beast of Vayne

The Castle of Vayne stands on the bank of a stream known as the Noran in the district of Angus, Scotland.

Dating back to the 16th century, the castle was built for the Lindsay family after they had attained the barony of Vayne some years earlier. It is a typical 'Z' shaped castle of the time, with a central core and a tower on two of the opposite corners, although unusually one corner tower is circular while the other is square. It is possible there were later additions to an original defensive tower house. There is believed to have been a walled courtyard connected to the castle also.

The history of the castle is difficult to piece together, and perhaps that is the reason there are several myths and legends surrounding it. It is known that the original castle was 3 storeys in height and that in the later part of the 17th century it was extensively remodelled with significant improvements being made. The castle was later abandoned, although the date is unclear, and the building was subsequently used as a quarry for stones to construct new properties in the surrounding area, and part of the castle is said to have been blown up by the farmer to provide stones for the construction of walls.

The land on which the castle stands is considered by some to be a place where the Devil once resided, a belief possibly aided by an area of land opposite being known as the 'De'ils Hows', where his figure is said to be seen in various guises. There is also a mark on a nearby stone said to be the hoof mark of a Kelpie, a notorious water creature that would commonly appear in the form of a horse to lure people towards it before dragging anyone who dared to climb on its back, or even touch it, into the depths of nearby water to drown and devour them.

A deep pool close to the castle is known as 'Tammy's Pot', sometimes referred to as 'Tommy's Pot' and it is suggested this is named after a son Cardinal Beaton, Archbishop of St. Andrews had with the Lady of Vayne. According to the legend the son, named Thomas, fell into this pool and drowned and as a result the wraith of Cardinal Beaton can still be seen wandering the ruins of the castle. There are many stories associated to Beaton, including the belief that he himself was in league with the Devil, and so some of the sightings of a Devil like figure are also said to be Beaton.

Possibly the best known story connected to the castle is that the last family to live there hid a vast fortune in coins and treasure in a hidden chamber below the vaulted cellar. Over the centuries, the curious have tried to find the entrance to this chamber, yet all but one have been unsuccessful. The unfortunate man who did find the entrance is said to have been thrown back out of the chamber by a foul blast of air. As he regained his composure, he saw before him an ox like horned monster protecting the entrance. As fire surrounded the beast, he stepped back into a hole in the wall and when the flames dispersed he saw that the entrance to the chamber had become once again sealed.

The Beast of Vayne is said to lie dormant, not interacting with anyone but if anyone else finds their way into the secret chamber, he will once again be awakened to defend the treasure. Despite the tale, people do still on occasion seek out the entrance, however, with the castle being on private land and in an extremely dangerous condition, we would advise even the most curious to stay away.

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