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Midmar Castle, Aberdeenshire.
Midmar Castle © 2010

The Marr is a historic region lying between the famous salmon rivers of the Dee and the Don. The district comprised Brae-Marr, so called on account of it being the highest part of the country: Cro-Marr, a lower and more cultivated tract; and Mid-Marr, indicating its central position between the two rivers. The word is derived from the Saxon - Mid - and the Gaelic - Marr - , signifying a black forest.

Tradition has it that Midmar was built by Sir William Wallace, when Governor of Scotland, as a hunting seat for his friend Sir Thomas Longavale. The square tower dates from about 1411 with the main towers added around 1565. The first recorded mention of the estates of Midmar is in the late 13th century when Adam Broun of Fordell, the Bishop of Aberdeen, held it. The castle passed to Alexander Gordon, first Earl of Huntly, in 1468 and was owned by the Gordons until 1620 when it was sold to Alexander Forbes. It later passed to the Grant family and others before being bought back by Colonel Gordon of Cluny in 1842.

Sir Alexander Seton, 1st Earl of Huntly, was the elder son of Sir Alexander Seton, Lord Gordon, and  Elizabeth Gordon the Heiress of Gordon (second son of Sir William Seton of Seton, 1st Lord Seton). Seton and his wife received from Robert, Duke of Albany, a charter, with remainder to their heirs, of the lands and baronies of Gordon, and other lands belonging to the late Lord of Gordon; and Seton was thereafter styled Lord of Gordon and Huntly, and later acquired those lands and the Barony of Midmar.

The Earl of Huntly had issue: by his first wife, Jean, daughter and heiress of Robert de Keith, grandson and heir of Sir William de Keith, Great Marischal of Scotland, he had no issue; by his second wife, Egidia Hay, daughter and heiress of Sir John Hay of Touch and Tullibody he had a son Sir Alexander Seton, ancestor of the Setons of Touch in Stirlingshire; and by his third wife, Elizabeth, daughter of William, Lord Crichton, Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, he had three sons and three daughters, who later took the name of Gordon, the succession to the Earldom of Huntly being settled on the issue of this marriage, by charter 29 Jan. 1449–50. The sons were George Seton, 2nd Earl of Huntly (later George Gordon); Sir Alexander Seton of Midmar (later as Gordon) and  ancestor of the Gordons of Abergeldie; and Adam Seton, Dean of Caithness and rector of Pettie.

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