The Grey Lady of Glamis haunts the family chapel and the Clock Tower of the world-famous Glamis Castle. Steeped in centuries of tale and legend, the castle has been standing since the late 1300’s, and has seen its fair share of goings-on. The Grey Lady of Glamis is believed to be Lady Janet Douglas, burned at the stake as a witch in 1537, and who has haunted the grounds of Glamis Castle ever since. Family feuds involving illegitimate children, forced imprisonment, civil wars and seizures of lands and titles fuelled King James V’s hatred towards his stepfather, Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. Once married to his mother, Margaret Tudor, tensions had become bitterly acrimonious, to the point that the King held nothing but contempt for the Archibald Douglas and the Clan Douglas. Imprisoned by his stepfather and held against his will, King James V was finally broken free and Janet quickly became the target of his revenge. Archibald Douglas fled to England, leaving Janet in the firing line.
In 1528, upon the death of her first husband, John Lyon, 6th Lord of Glamis, Janet was immediately summoned for treason, accused of supporting the civil war against the King and of poisoning Lyon. Charges were eventually dropped, and she remarried Archibald Campbell in 1532, having ceased all communication with her brothers to prove her innocence in any plot against the King. Janet’s reprieve was short-lived, however, as in 1537, she was once again summoned for treason.
This time, the charges brought against her included being in secret talks with the Douglas clan, attempting to poison the King and witchcraft. Glamis Castle was confiscated by the Crown, and Janet’s family and servants were savagely tortured until they gave false evidence against her. Even her young son was forced to watch the torture before he too, was put to the rack. These testimonies were enough to convict Janet of witchcraft, and she was burned at the stake as a witch in the grounds of Edinburgh Castle. It is said King James forced her son to watch her agonising death before letting him go.
Many witnesses claim to have seen the Grey Lady of Glamis whilst visiting Glamis Castle, so why not visit it yourself and see if you can spot her?