Our longest established trading relationship spans across three centuries and is based in the local community near our Elgin mill. Supporting trade locally has never been as important as it is now, and we are delighted to have supplied Estate Tweed and Tartan to Gordon Castle since the 1800s. We are also proud to be one of their customers, as their estate has diversified in recent years and now includes a range of products inspired by their magnificent walled garden, such as the award-winning Gordon Castle Gin.
Wounded Soldiers at Gordon Castle during the Great War. Image by Gordon Castle
Gordon Castle was used during the Great War as an auxiliary hospital for soldiers returning from the front. It was sold back to the Crown in 1938 following two successive deaths that left the family with unmanageable death duties to pay. The castle fell into disrepair before being ‘rescued’ by war hero and much-loved soldier, Lieutenant-General Sir George Gordon Lennox (grandson of the 7th Duke of Richmond and Gordon) after World War Two. He was forced to knock down much of the original house due to dry and wet rot, but he and his wife began the loving restoration, which Angus Gordon Lennox (Grandson of Sir George) and his wife Zara continue today.
Lieutenant General Sir George Gordon Lennox (far left) as a child wearing his kilt pictured with Piper MacKenzie in 1912. Image by Gordon Castle
Angus Gordon Lennox (Grandson of Sir George) and his wife Zara at Gordon Castle Highland Games. Image by Gordon Castle
Initial orders to Johnstons of Elgin for Gordon Tartan date back to the 1830s, invoiced then to the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. These orders would be invoiced every summer and in the late 1840s the supply of Gordon Castle Estate Tweed commenced. The tweed was designed, as many Estate Tweeds are still, to act as a camouflage, for durability and to differentiate neighbouring estates.
In 1844, Johnstons wove a blended-style tweed for the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. The Duke bought 25.84 metres (71.5 yards) of the cloth at 5s 3d (£15.86) a yard (a pound then was worth £60.42 in today's currency). 'G.T.' as it came to be known in the company books was reordered regularly. By the end of the 19th century, G.T. was in use on all the sporting estates owned by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, including Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Kinrara and the fishing on the River Spey at Fochabers. The River Spey is one of the ‘big four’ Scottish salmon rivers, with the Gordon Castle and Brae Water Beats amongst the most famous in the world. Spread over eight miles, the eight beats of double-bank salmon fishing are together probably the largest and most prolific salmon fishery in Britain. The tweed is still worn today by ghillies working on the River Spey, employees at Gordon Castle and of course by the Gordon Lennox family themselves.
Gordon Castle Estate Tweed modelled by the Ghillies in 1911. Image by Gordon Castle
Highland Games are a traditional spectacle for our local communities, bringing everyone together annually to cheer on competitors who travel from far and wide to compete. Our local community in Morayshire was delighted when Laird of Gordon Castle, Angus Gordon Lennox decided to resurrect the annual games at Gordon Castle almost ten years ago. It has since attracted around 10,000 visitors each year, and a real highlight is a spotlight on tartans and tweeds, modelled by spectators and competitors alike.
Gordon Castle Highland Games in the 1930's. Image by Gillian Hood
Image by Gordon Castle