The History of Shieldhill Castle

Prior to becoming a hotel in 1959, Shieldhill Castle was the seat of the Chancellor family for over 750 years. The Chancellors are recorded as one of the oldest families in the area, having come from France at the time of the Norman Conquests, along with the Sommervilles of Carnwath, with whom there are long standing connections.

The Chancellor family left the Castle and moved into a new mansion in Quothquan. In 1568 however, following the Battle of Langside, in which William Chancellor fought in the cause of Queen Mary, Regent Moray sent out a party of 500 horsemen to destroy the mansions, castles and fortalices of her adherents. The Quothquan mansion was sadly destroyed.

The Chancellor family then moved back to Shieldhill Castle, where they re-roofed and rendered habitable the old tower, originally built in 1199, and which now forms the core of the present building.

The original form of the tower is said to have been square, with access by the round tower on the North side, most probably added by the Chancellors in the late sixteenth century. This remained as the entrance until the major alterations of 1820, when the tower was altered and extended to form the more classical styling that can be seen today.

During the nineteenth century Shieldhill was further added to and modernised. The original door has, however, been preserved – entire with its stone and lock, removed from its original position to one of the other faces of the tower, where it is set in a later, simple rectangular moulding.

Above the door is an engraved stone with shields, letters and a pinnacle shaped carving, reputedly part of the carved work of an altar which had originally been the family chapel.

The letters I.H.S and M.A. The shield on the left is fifteenth century and bears the crest of the Chancellor family. The shield on the left is unknown. The vane which surmounts the old engraving belongs to the seventeenth century and the initials are of James Chancellor and Margaret Levingston.

Shieldhill Castle Hotel has been open and operating under the current management since 2020 the Castle has undergone extensive renovations to bring it up to its current standards.


Haunted History of Shieldhill Castle

In light of it being the most haunted day of the year, we thought we’d share our very own Shieldhill Castle haunted hotel story with you. Many of you know about the Grey Lady of Shieldhill Castle, but do you know why she haunts the Castle? And do you know that there has been some recent sightings of abnormal activity?

The ‘Grey Lady’ ghost has been sighted by hotel guests in the corridors of Shieldhill Castle. We believe she was the former occupant of the house who fell for someone of a lower social class. The story goes that she killed herself as a result of her father forbidding their relationship. Many guests have said they can feel her presence, with cold touches when they enter what is believed to be her room. Additionally, a male ghost clothed in what appears to be butler’s uniform has been reported in the hotel’s former staff quarters.

Owner of Shieldhill Castle, Colin Frame, has first hand witnessed abnormal activity when appliances would go on automatically in the staff areas, sensor lights being triggered and tickles on the arm. There are several versions of what has happened to the Grey Lady and this mystery man, have you experienced their presence? If so then let us know.


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.”


Celebrating 100 years of Mrs Betty Fraser Harris

Meet Mrs Betty Fraser Harris, one of our lovely guests who recently visited Shieldhill Castle to celebrate her 100th Birthday. Mrs Harris shared lovely stories with us that day, and we asked her son if it would be okay for us share her wonderful story with you.

Mrs Harris was born (in 1922!) and brought up in a townhouse in Moray Place in Edinburgh, spending most summer holidays in the hills around Broughton and the head-waters of the Tweed. During the war she trained as a physiotherapist and worked in Edinburgh and later at Stoke Mandeville Hospital where she worked under Dr Guttmann the founder of what eventually became the Paralympic Games. Soon after she went to visit some family friends who were living in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) where she met her husband who was working there as an army officer. Soon after they were married at West Linton Kirk and Baddinsgill.

For the next decade they lived where the army sent them – Malaya and Germany and the UK – in the meantime having 2 sons – one of whom now lives in Symington and the other in Somerset.

Tragically her husband died in 1963 and she came to live in a hidden gem of a house in the Pentland hills beyond Dolphinton, where thanks to a team of friends and carers, she still lives.

When Mrs Harris takes something up she likes to do it well according to her son, so although she started with the normal Blackface it was not long before she was breeding pedigree Shetland sheep and ended up with the Best in Breed Champion Shetland ram in the Royal Highland Show.

Next she learned how to spin and dye the wool produced by her sheep and turn it into beautiful items of clothing before turning her hand to felt-making and quilt-making, resulting in many more artistic creations.

Sadly she has had to retire from production but spends her time enjoying her beautiful garden set among the hills where the Medwin meets the Westwater.

This year she celebrated her 100th birthday and a party had been planned, but unfortunately Covid threw a spanner in the works, as it did to so many people, (with both sons contracting the virus on the same day a week before the party) and the guest list had to be dramatically truncated.

She was extra delighted when Shieldhill Castle kindly welcomed her to her absolute favourite treat: extra-chocolatey chocolate cake and coffee. “The friendly staff made her feel like royalty and gave her a real buzz.” said her son.

We were thrilled to have met Mrs Harris, and be a part of her special celebrations. We wish her all the health and happiness and hope to see her for her 101th birthday.


Shieldhill Castle, celebrates 4 years of Stellar Omada

Shieldhill Castle were delighted to host a very special event on behalf of Stellar Omada on Friday 2nd September.

Stellar Omada hired the castle exclusively for their team building event and 4th birthday celebrations. Their team building event consisted of business updates, motivational talks and sports day out on the lawn in the morning. In the evening, the marquee was transformed into their Wild West themed party, where they enjoyed each others company, an award ceremony, dinner, cake, western styled disco and casino.

Happy Birthday Stellar Omada, on behalf of everyone at Shieldhill Castle.

If you’re interested in hosting a corporate event at Shieldhill Castle or would like more information please contact


Biggar Little Festival

Biggar Little Festival is back, bigger and better than ever before with an exciting 20th Anniversary programme.

Shieldhill Castle are excited to announce that we are taking part this year. We have partnered up with local artists Kirsten Harris Art and Sam Glendinnig from The Alchemist’s Forge for an Exhibition and workshops.

We are showcasing Kirsten’s stunning paintings on the castle walls, which are also available for purchase, alongside an exhibition of beautiful silver jewellery by The Alchemist’s Forge. Both artists are offering workshops at Shieldhill Castle as part of the Biggar Little Festival events.

The exhibition will take place on Friday 21st October 2022, free entry to all. We look forward to welcoming you at the castle’s first art exhibition. The painting and silversmithing workshops include a lovely lunch at Sheildhill Castle. To buy tickets for the workshops please contact Sam and Kirsten directly.

With more than 70 events over 10 days in October the festival offers comedy, theatre and music headliners and many family and children’s events to enjoy!

You can download the Biggar Little Festival programme by clicking-…/blf-program-2022…


Kickstarting Careers at Shieldhill Castle

At Shieldhill Castle we value the needs of the community and are delighted to support and inspire young people to pursue their careers. The Kickstart Scheme was a programme created to build on the work-force of the future in industries like hospitality. It was launched on the 8th July as part of the Plan for Jobs. This allowed people like Tilly, to work and transition into her employment here at Shieldhill Castle.

“Tilly has honestly become an asset to our team and has grown so much since the day she walked in for her interview. We are proud of what she has achieved in the 9 months she has been with us. She is really going from strength to strength and we are delighted to have her after her time with the Kickstart programme. Good work Tilly! Keep smashing it.”

We asked Tilly about her experience so far, read what she has to say.

Q1. What made you choose Shieldhill Castle as your Kickstart placement?
I was really interested in getting into hospitality. I wanted to learn skills that would be transferable in many places, for example if I wanted to go traveling I would be able to use skills learned in hospitality to work abroad.

Q2. What are the key areas that your experience at Shieldhill Castle built on so far?
I would say that since working at Shieldhill Castle my personal confidence has really improved. I used to be very shy and reserved but since starting my job I have been encouraged to step outside my comfort zone and it has really helped my communication skills with customers. I am now starting to learn some leadership skills when helping to train new members of the team.

Q3. What is your favorite thing about your job?
The people. I enjoy getting to meet new people from a range of different backgrounds. The team here are really good too, we are a small team but we all pull together and it makes working at Shieldhill castle enjoyable.

Q4. What advice would you give someone looking to start their first job?
My advice would be don’t be scared to ask questions and remember that everyone has been in your position at one point in their working career. Ask as many questions as you need and you will learn about your new role quicker and will be more confident.

Q5. Where do you see yourself in 5years?
I see myself continuing to develop my professional skill and developing more as a person too.


‘Shieldhill Castle Gin’ now available thanks to Biggar Gin

Shieldhill Castle are delight to share that we now have a ‘Shieldhill Castle Gin’! A special thanks to Biggar Gin for making this happen.

Like Shieldhill Castle, Biggar Gin are a family business. They operate with the same outlook and vision as ourselves about embracing the history of our town into today’s modern society. Our ‘Shieldhill Castle Gin’ is one way which both business are delighted achieve this. By offering a rare delight to our guests, we hope to leave tastebuds longing and bring people back our town to enjoy another. 

The gin itself has notes of Bergamot and Lemon Verbena, the essence of a fresh summers day, a combination and blend of ingredients that are natural to our unique setting. Best served with Mediterranean Tonic and a slice of fresh lemon. The bottle itself was created with consideration to our well known shield, and we think it’s fabulous don’t you? 

If you would like to be one of the first to try our Shieldhill Castle Gin, join us in our Market Bar this weekend. Bar is open till 10pm Friday & Saturday. 


Shieldhill Castle make the Finals for the Prestige Hotel Awards 2022

Shieldhill Castle are delighted to be attending the Prestige Hotel Awards ceremony at the Crown Plaza Hotel. 

We are so grateful to all those who have voted for Shieldhill Castle and got us to the finals. This is an amazing achievement to get this far already. We have been nominated for Best Castle Hotel, Best Hotel Breakfast, Best Wedding Venue. 

Owner Colin Frame and the Shieldhill Castle family would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to staff, contractors, suppliers and guests. The growth and progress made at Shieldhill Castle has been astonishing, the journey might have not been the easiest but we have got through it and we look to continue learning and bringing the very best service to our guests in the years ahead.

Congratulations to all the other finalists.


Shieldhill Castle Wedding Show Open Day 24th April 10am-3pm

Walk through your special day and discover our beautiful venue at our very first Wedding Show Open Day, Sunday 24th April from 10am-3pm.If you are interested in joining us please contact

Set up as it would be on your big day, walk around the venue and picture what could be yours.  Select suppliers will also be there to help bring the castle to life and to chat all things wedding with you. We shall be featuring our suppliers on the lead up to the day.  

Why not book a slot with our Wedding and Events team to discuss packages and get a personalized quote? To book your slot please email We require you to book an appointment in advance. 

If you’ve already booked your wedding at Shieldhill Castle but would like to see the space again, please contact us to book a viewing slot.

For more information please head to our Wedding Page