Glamis is an attractive village which stands just to the north of the A94 about five miles south west of Forfar and a similar distance south of Kirriemuir. Much of historic core of the village was built by John, the 9th Earl of Strathmore, in the late 1700s, in part to rehouse estate workers whose cottages had been removed during his redevelopment of Glamis Castle and its surrounding estate.
Although there has been more recent development surrounding the older core, today's Glamis still has the look and feel of a planned estate village. The presence of the grounds of Glamis Castle immediately to the north was emphasised by the erection in 2008 of the Queen Mother Memorial Gates. These stand at the west end of the village's Main Street and from them a dead straight avenue a little under a mile long is aligned perfectly with the central stair tower of the castle.
The story of Glamis Castle can be traced back to the building of a royal hunting lodge here, and it was here that King Malcolm II of Alba was assassinated, in circumstances that remain unclear, on 25 November 1034. The castle has since been developed and redeveloped on a number of occasions and today is a truly superb visitor attraction.
But if Glamis Castle can trace its origins back a thousand years, Glamis itself is older still. Glamis was the location in which Saint Fergus, chose to build a church in the 600s. Today's St Fergus Kirk stands on the same site, though most of it was completed in 1792 as a replacement for a stone medieval church which was consecrated in 1242. One aisle, the Strathmore Aisle, survived from the earlier church and dates back to the latter half of the 1400s. Next to the Glamis Burn close to the church is St Fergus Well, believed to have been used by St Fergus for baptisms.
Glamis' importance as a religious centre during the Pictish era is probably signified by the presence in the surrounding landscape of a number of important Pictish cross-slabs, carved stones bearing Pictish symbols on one side and a cross on the other. The most impressive of these, and most easily accessible, is the massive Glamis Manse Symbol Stone, standing in the garden of the manse, opposite St Fergus Kirk and measuring an impressive 2.7m high. Standing about half a mile east of the village, the Hunters Hill Symbol Stone is reached by a forest track. Meanwhile, a little over two miles north east of Glamis and standing in open farmland, is St Orland's Stone, reaching a height of 2.4m but in a poor state of repair: and by a clear margin the most difficult of the three stones to find.
Glamis was made a "Burgh of Barony" by James IV in 1491 and granted the right to hold a fair annually on 17 November, the feast day of St Fergus. As a result it increasingly became a focal point for the surrounding area. Today this right to hold a market is remembered primarily in the continuing presence of the mercat cross in the heart of the village.
Not far from the mercat cross and just beyond the Corner Shop and Post Office is the Angus Folk Museum. This occupies a terrace of six cottages built in 1793 and a farmstead on the opposite side of the road. It is operated by the National Trust for Scotland and provides a fascinating window on a world now almost wholly gone.
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