Home with ruins of a cannibal laird’s castle up for sale

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A HOME which includes the ruins of a cannibal laird’s castle in the garden has had more than £250,000 knocked off the asking price.

Rock Hall Fishing Station - near Montrose, Angus - is a beautiful renovated bungalow with a commanding view of the coastline where Scotland’s east coast meets the North Sea.

But the cosy bungalow bolthole is in stark contrast the grim history of the ruins of Kaim of Mathers Castle.

Perched precariously on the cliff edge the ruins are included in the nine acres of land that comes with the main property.

It was here the laird is reputed to have turned an enemy into “broth”.

The bungalow and ruins were put on the market last February for £725,000, but after over a year of buyers passing on the morbid premises £285,000 has been knocked off its price.

Now it is on sale for £440,000 - meaning that for less than the price of a one bedroom London flat you could own the the castle that was once home to the infamous 15th century Laird James Barclay.

According to local legend the cannibal laird often complained to King James I of Scotland about the sheriff who was detested by local landowners.

It is said one day the king told him to “go and make soup of the sheriff” and “sup” him – a comment Barclay took literally.

According to ‘Portrait of a Parish’ by Duncan Fraser, Barclay and other lairds from the area tricked the sheriff into a day’s hunting before tipping him into a boiling cauldron.

One by one each lord “had a sup of the broth”.

When the King found out he denied any involvement in the brutal killing of the sheriff - denouncing those who took part.

He swore an oath that Barclay “would get no peace to live neither on land nor sea for the rest of his life”.

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The cannibal laird spent the rest of his life at Kaim of Mathers “poised between the land and sea on a cliff top near St Cyrus”.

The stunning ruin with the ghoulish history comes with a fully restored former fishing station and has been put on the market at the reduced price by Savills.

The buyers brochure states: “Rock Hall had been a salmon fishing station, and there are date stones of 1835 and 1842.

“The fishing station comprised the skipper’s quarters, an ice house, two bothies and a net store.

“The bungalow was probably built in the 1950s, to provide more modern accommodation for the fishing station skipper.

“Rock Hall Fishing Station was acquired by the sellers in 1999. At that stage it had been used for storage for some years and they set about an ambitious restoration programme with a view to creating a very unique country property, which still retains so much of its original character. “

Ruaraidh Ogilvie, the agent managing the sale, said: “Rock Hall’s setting is breathtaking, high on the cliff tops above golden beaches; its wonderful interiors are almost as dramatic.

“We have set the price to encourage further interest in this very special, niche property. It is generating enquiries from outdoor enthusiasts including second homeowners and those looking at it as a holiday letting business, given its wonderful location.”

Despite his gruesome reputation Laird Barclay isn’t Scotland’s most prolific cannibal.

Alexander ‘Sawney’ Bean – the semi-mythical head of a 48-member Scottish clan in the 16th Century – is said to have killed and eaten more than 1,000 people.

Originally from East Lothian Alexander ‘Sawney’ Bean and his partner spent 25 years secretly living in a coast cave near Girvan.

Is is said the couple had eight sons, six daughters, eighteen grandsons and fourteen granddaughters.

Eventually the cannibal clan was discovered following a manhunt with a team of 400 men and several bloodhounds.

When the cave was discovered it was scattered with the remains of their many victims.

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