A tale of two familiesHuntingtower Castle was a lordly residence for 300 years, from the 15th to the 18th century. It is associated with two noble families: the Ruthvens (later earls of Gowrie) and, following their downfall in 1600, the Murrays (earls of Tullibardine and later dukes of Atholl). Prior to 1600, Huntingtower was known as the Place of Ruthven.
The Place of RuthvenHuntingtower appears today as a single building, but it was not always so. Before the late 17th century, when the Murrays attempted to make the medieval castle look more like a regular country mansion, the Place of Ruthven comprised two substantial tower houses standing less than 3m apart. This arrangement was highly unusual, and how it came about is one of Huntingtower’s enduring mysteries. Other buildings, including a great hall, stood beside the tower houses around a courtyard. All were enclosed within a substantial stone defensive wall.
The rise and fall of the RuthvensThe Ruthvens settled in Perthshire in the late 12th century. Precisely where the family lived for the next 250 years is a mystery. The oldest part of the present castle dates from the 15th century. In 1480 the two sons of William, 1st Lord Ruthven, were each granted letters of legitimation. This may explain the building of two tower houses so close together – one for each son.