The Clan Forbes Society has partnered with Thistle Dubh Enterprises and Jamie, Lord Sempill, of Clan Chief Tours to create a bespoke Forbes ancestral tour for twenty people in August 2020.
Druminnor Castle was the seat of the Chiefs of Clan Forbes for over 500 years until it was sold by the 16th Lord Forbes in 1770. Castle Forbes, as it was then called, was the stage for much of Forbes history. Alexander III granted to Duncan Forbes the lands and tenements of Forbes and Kearn in about 1272. In about 1430, Alexander 1st Lord Forbes added a large hall block, the only part of the castle which has survived. The castle has a tumultuous history of being attacked, demolished and rebuilt between 1449 through 1690. The Jacobite Uprisings of 1715 and 1745 caused more damage and financial distress to the point that James, 15th Lord Forbes, sold much of the estate and then the castle itself in 1770. In 1955, Margaret Forbes-Sempill, a daughter of Lord Forbes-Sempill of Craigievar, bought Druminnor, restoring it to Forbes ownership after a gap of 185 years. The current owner is clan historian Alexander Forbes.
After selling the original Castle Forbes, Lord Forbes moved across the Braes of Forbes to the house of Putachie, which became the new seat of Clan Forbes. In 1815, Putachie was rebuilt and renamed Castle Forbes. The Castle is a Georgian country house in the Scottish baronial architecture style at the heart of a 6,000-acre estate. The Earl of Mar granted the lands to Sir Alexander Forbes (later the 1st Lord Forbes) in 1411 for his part in the defeat of Donald of the Isles at the Battle of Harlaw. Atholl Laurence Cunyngham Forbes, 21st Lord Forbes (1882 – 1953), modernized the castle by installing bathrooms, wash-hand basins, central heating, and electricity froma turbine at the old sawmill on the River Don. In World War II between 1939 and 1945, Lord Forbes loaned Castle Forbes to the Department of Health as an Auxiliary Hospital for convalescent servicemen. Today, the Castle Forbes estate is managed by Clan Chief Malcolm Forbes, 23rd Lord Forbes, and his wife Jinny, Lady Forbes.
The tour hotel for two nights is Meldrum House with many portraits of members of both Clan Gordon and Clan Forbes. The Barony of Meldrum was granted during the reign of King Alexander II. Fyvie Castle came into the family when Alexander Meldrum of Meldrum married the youngest daughter of Sir Henry Preston in 1433. His son, also Alexander, married Margaret Forbes, daughter of Alexander, 1st Lord Forbes. Another Sir Alexander Seton, William and Elizabeth’s great, great, great grandson, was eventually to buy Fyvie Castle from Andrew Meldrum of Drumoak in 1596 and subsequently become Lord Fyvie.
For more information on the 2020 Clan Forbes Tour, see https://www.clan-forbes.org/2020tour