In the footsteps of a King...Macbeth in Royal Deeside

Macbeth is one of s most famous plays but there was a real life king behind the murderous villain of the ‘Scottish Play’. 

Lumphanan on Royal Deeside is strongly connected with Macbeth, no not the Macbeth that Shakespeare embellished as an evil tyrant, but the real King Macbeth, who ruled Scotland from 1040–1057.  

...Historians describe the young Macbeth as tall, fair haired and handsome, with a ruddy complexion

As a smaller village settlement, Lumphanan was predominantly built in the late 19th century. However like a number of villages throughout Royal Deeside is also steeped in history.

The real Macbeth took the throne after killing his cousin, King Duncan I, in battle. In 1046, the Earl of Northumbria, Siward, unsuccessfully attempted to dethrone Macbeth in favour of Malcolm.  However in 1054, Macbeth was apparently forced by Siward to yield part of southern Scotland to Malcolm.

Three years later, Malcolm killed Macbeth with assistance from the English, at the Battle of Lumphanan in 1057.

Within a few miles of the Lumphanan Peel there are 3 sites associated with Macbeth’s final battle.  At Burnside, near the church, is the well where he drank before the battle. 300 meters south west of the Peel is Macbeth’s Stone. A stone is visible in the field marking the spot where legend has it that Macbeth was beheaded after his defeat.   



Finally, to the north of the village on Perk Hill is Macbeth’s Cairn, which legend said was the site of his burial. However it is believed that his body was buried in the holy isle of Iona, where many other Scottish Kings were buried.

Macbeth’s Stone and Macbeth’s Well attract large numbers of visitors every year eager to trace the history of the Scottish noble. There is now a downloadable app – Discover Deeside, which uses augmented reality to guide visitors around these ancient sites.

Aberdeenshires Discover Deeside app 

Lumphanan originally known as Llanfinan (Valley of Finan) was named after Finan an early Christian saint who established his church here about 1400 years ago. It was also a medieval site to one of the earliest Norman fortified houses in the north of Scotland around the late 12 th century.

The Peel Ring - Photo thanks to Jim Henderson of Crooktree images

The Peel Ring of Lumphanan is an example of the earthworks associated with timber castles.  There are no remains now beyond the motte and sizeable earthwork defences and no stone remnants of any buildings.

In the 19th century local villagers used a level area inside the lower earthworks as a curling rink in winter, and you can still see the layout of the rink on the grass. 

Lumphanan is a peaceful farming area and is set amidst some lovely scenery.

You could even say it somehow seems lost in time with faint echoes of footsteps of a King!


Whilst walking in the footsteps of Macbeth why not enjoy taking in a cuppa and a fine piece at the "Meet Again Tea Shop" Delighted to have this traditional Scottish Tearoom as part of the Royal Deeside PassporTour Tea and Cake Trail.





Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published