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Barra Castle, Aberdeenshire.
Barra Castle with the Seton Turrets © 2005

The lands of Barra were once a possession of the Comyn family prior to the Wars of Independence, whereby they passed to the Family of King.  Barra Castle, or its predecessor was in 1247, and for more than two centuries after, the seat of the Kings (later of Dudwick in Ellon), who along with the Forbes Family, were long at feud with the Seton Family of Meldrum and the House of Gordon.  The Kings of Barra were long at feud with the Seton's of Meldrum, which feud might have been expected to come to a close towards the end of the 16th century when James King sold Barra to the Seton's.  But no; as late as 1615, Elizabeth Seton pursued at law James King "sumtyme of Barra' and others for being art and part in the slaughter of her father, Alexander, fiar of Meldrum, 'with schottis of hagbuttis and muscattis, commited upon the landis of Barra...' (the Braes of Bourtie). 

Nevertheless, Barra passed by purchase from the Kings of Barra to the Setonís of Meldrum in the 16th century.  William Seton, 5th of Meldrum, married as his second wife, Margaret Innes of Leuchars and his 4th son was George Seton, Chancellor of St. Macharís Cathedral in  Aberdeen. It was George Seton who enlarged the Castle and added the conical towers. His emblems of three entwined crescents, over-top of the windows, can be seen outside the Castle still to this day.  His work was completed in two stages: 1st in 1614 and 2nd in 1618.  Although Barra is Assuredly one of the most attractive of the lesser castles of Aberdeenshire, it was never fully completed to George Seton's original plan.

Kings and Queens of the United Kingdom (from 1603)
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Photo: The Hill of Barra

  The Lands of Barra
   Nicholas Bogdan