Spynie Palace is situated 3 miles
north of Elgin, 3 miles south of
Lossiemouth, off the Moray
Coast road, built from the 1200s for the
Bishops of Moray.
The Palace is open for visits with an
entrance fee: 1 April to 30 September,
9.30am to 5.30pm. Closed 1 October to 31
March. Postcode: IV30 5QG
See also a large Click On
Map for Top Attractions in the area.
The image top is of the entrance to Spynie
Palace from the fairly large Car Park, as a
number of Tour Buses visit the Palace.
The second image is of the Palace east side,
showing it is basically a Castle used by the
Bishops of Elgin Cathedral as their
The Information Board shows each section of
the Palace, such as David's Tower and the Great
Board Large Image
Spynie Palace History
1120s - the first Bishops of Moray were
documented, traveling between buildings at
Birnie, Kinneddar, and Spynie.
1207 - Bishop Brice starts the building of
the small Spynie Cathedral, with the Bishops
then based at Spynie.
1200s - the earliest parts of Spynie Palace
/ Spynie Castle, were built for the Bishops of
Moray, close to the Cathedral, on the site of
an earlier Wooden Castle.
1224 - Bishop Andrew begins the building of
the much larger Elgin Cathedral, with Spynie
Palace used as their Secure Residence. There
was a Royal Castle at Elgin, with the Bishops
hoping that would help protect their new vast
1362 - King David II stayed at Spynie Palace
for some time to avoid the Plague in
1390 - Alexander
Stewart / Wolf of Badenoch, brother of King
Robert III, attacked the area with his forces,
burning much of Forres, Elgin, and Elgin Cathedral.
His brother stopped him from burning Spynie
Bishop Bur of
Elgin Cathedral had excommunicated Stewart for
Marriage Infidelity, leading to the
1400s - Bishop John de
Winchester carried out alterations to
Spynie Palace. As well as being the Bishop of
Moray, John was the King's Master of Works,
responsible for alterations to Inverness and
Urquhart Castles, also Linlithgow
1400s late - the six story David's Tower was
completed for Bishop David Stewart, claimed to
be the largest Tower of that time.
1560 - the Reformation in Scotland made
Catholic Worship illegal, with Catholic Bishops
and Monks allowed to live out their lives at
their Cathedrals, Abbeys, and Priory's.
The Reformation led to a series of Wars of
Religion between Catholics and Protestants, and
different types of Protestantism, such as the
Bishops Wars, Covenanters, Wars of the Three
Kingdoms, English Civil War, and
1562 - Mary Queen of Scots stayed at Spynie
Palace for 2 nights while in the area with her
forces dealing with the Earl of Huntly,
who had been rebelling against her. The Earl
died in captivity later that year, with his
Body taken to Edinburgh to stand Trial.
1567 - Mary Queen of
Scots was defeated by forces of Scots
Nobles at the Battle of Carberry Hill, with her
husband Lord Bothwell / James Hepburn, forced
to flee for his life.
Scots Nobles had blamed Lord Bothwell for
the Murder of Mary's earlier husband, Lord Darnley,
leading to the Nobles forcing Mary to Abdicate
in favour of her Protestant son James.
1567 - Bishop Hepburn, the last Roman
Catholic Bishop at Spynie, sheltered his
relative Lord Bothwell at Spynie before he
traveled to Orkney, then Denmark, where he died
in a Gruesome Prison.
1567 - Elgin Cathedral was abandoned,
leading to it falling into ruin.
1573 - Bishop Patrick Hepburn died, leading
to Protestant Bishops using Spynie Palace from
1640 - the Covenanter General Munro took the
Palace from Bishop Guthrie, as Guthrie had
refused to subscribe to the Covenant.
Covenanters were against Kings and Queens being
the head of their Churches.
1662 - the restoration of Episcopacy,
Bishops in control of Churches in Scotland, led
to Spynie Palace being passed back to
1689 - Bishop Hay was removed from office
for refusing to take an Oath of Allegiance to
King William and Queen Mary, last Bishop to use
The Palace then passed into the hands of the
Crown with its Ironwork and Wood Carvings
Local people then began taking Stone from
the Palace for other buildings in the area.
1973 - the ruins were taken over by Historic
Environment Scotland to be Maintained for use
as a Tourist Attraction.