Heritage and Culture

Folklore Friday - The Monster of Glamis

By Sophie

Thomas was born on October the 21st 1821 at Glamis Castle, in Angus. The official records state that the child died that same day, however rumors echo through out history, telling a different story.

Heir to one of Scotland's noble titles Thomas was born with serious deformation. Terrifying his family to such an extent, they could not stand to look at him, soon after his birth, it is thought that Glamis's father had a secret chamber made in the castle, where he locked his son away for the decades that followed.

Thomas's parents were the great, great grandparents of the Queen Mother, who was also born at Glamis Castle, as was her daughter Princess Margaret. Being of high society, rumors of Thomas's supposed death began to circulate throughout the village, with suspicions arising that the death may be a lie, when an unnamed midwife involved in Thomas's birth began to state that he had, in fact survived. The second clue came when there was no gravestone for the child. This had the villagers sure that the child had survived, only feeding their curiosity as to what had come of young Thomas.

Years later, a workman stated that, during his time at the castle, he had encountered Thomas, in a passageway, close to the Chapel. He was swiftly offered money, by the Earl, to emigrate to Australia. As news spread of this exchange, fear grew of Thomas, who had become known as the 'Monster of Glamis' and of the secret chamber in which he was thought to inhabit. Fears were so strong in some that later on an estate manager refused completely to step foot in the castle, having heard of the purpose of the secret chamber. Supposedly only three people knew of the secret - the Earl of Strathmore, his heir and the manager of the estate.

A group of guests, visiting the castle, once went on a search to find the secret chamber. They hung towels from all the rooms in a bid find it. After stepping outside to look at their markers, they noticed that one window was still empty. They searched for a corresponding room inside, but could not find one.

There are theories over why poor Thomas came to be so deformed, with some connecting his unfortunate state to the fact his parents were cousins first removed. It is thought Thomas had wasted arms and legs, with Ghost writer Peter Underwood describing him as looking like an enormous flabby egg.

Whether monster, or victim, Thomas Glamis lived a sorry life, and for that the Castle of Glamis will always be burdened with a dark secret.