A Chancellor at the Castle

Since we have opened, we have had so many people share their stories of their connections to Shieldhill Castle. One of which, we would love to share with you today. 

Those of you who know the history of Shieldhill Castle will know that the Chancellor Family resided in the venue as their home for over 700 years! Just recently, we enjoyed the lovely company of Suzanne and her husband. Suzanne has been studying her heritage for over 30 years and has found that she has ancestors to the Chancellor family. 

This discovery was over several years ago as she ran across some information about The Chancellor Family and Shieldhill Castle. Based on her  research, she believed this family was related to her Virginia Chancellor Family. After some internet digging, she noticed the castle was under new ownership and was in fact open for overnight stays. 

Fast forward to this year,  Suzanne’s daughter was invited to the The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo as she plays in the United States Army Field Band, giving her the perfect chance to join us here at Shieldhill Castle. It was also her and her husbands 40th wedding anniversary whilst they were here, so we ensured to give them the best possible visit as possible. 

“My husband and I arrived at Shieldhill early on a beautiful Saturday morning. We had made prior arrangements to meet with Jane, who we heard was the resident Chancellor expert. We were warmly greeted by Sandra who showed us to the library and said that Jane would be with us shortly. Jane was very generous with her time and answered many questions for us. We were excited to learn that the room we were staying in (The Chancellor Room, of course) was the same room that Nelson Mandela once stayed in. Jane recommended we take a drive down the road to the Quothquan Kirk to look around the church cemetery to see what we could learn there. She also recommended we might enjoy heading into Biggar for lunch. We spent quite a long time looking at and photographing the headstones at the church. Once we were done there, we drove into Biggar and had lunch. After lunch we popped in at the Biggar Museum to see if they had any Chancellor Family information to share with us. While they didn’t have any Chancellor information to share at the time, I have had several emails from one of their volunteers since returning home. They found some Chancellor Family information and forwarded copies to me. Yay – more Chancellor Family research!

Next, it was time to return to Shieldhill and explore the castle and grounds! Sandra introduced us to Jim. Jim gave us a wonderful, in-depth tour of the castle and the grounds – much more than we could have ever expected. After our tour, we made our way down to the bar and enjoyed a lovely bottle of champagne (we were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary)! Next on the agenda was dinner. Who knew haggis and black pudding could be so tasty? Certainly not this American. Suzanne, our server, was very attentive and we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner. After dinner we decided it was time to try some of the many whiskies that they had to offer and sat outside enjoying the weather and the company. Everyone at Shieldhill shared stories of the Grey Lady Ghost. The story goes that she jumped out of one of the castle windows due to a broken heart. We visited her room, but sadly she never made an appearance. Our stay at Shieldhill was just one lovely experience after another.

While I didn’t come home from Scotland knowing a lot more about my Chancellor ancestors, we have gathered additional research that I can work with to add to my Chancellor Family Tree. Since our return, Jane and I have shared several emails. Shieldhill has had two other guests researching their Chancellor Families and I hope to share some research with them. Most importantly, we came home with memories of a wonderful trip to Shieldhill Castle. We will always remember how kind and welcoming everyone was! We hope to return to Shieldhill one day.”

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