A direct descendant of British Prime Minister William Gladstone has pressed a 16th Century castle on the four-time premier’s family estate in the Mearns into a new modern day role.
Picturesque Balbegno Castle at Fettercairn is preparing to stage its first wedding showcase next month after the restored building was developed into a wedding/events venue and holiday home by its owner Charlie Gladstone, the great great grandson of the Liverpool-born politician who served no fewer than four terms as Prime Minister in the Victorian era, during a career covering more than sixty years.
Looking ahead to the June 4 event, castle owner Mr Gladstone, who also founded the Pedlars homeware brand with wife, Caroline, said: “We’re so proud of the restoration that we’ve done at Balbegno.
“It’s a perfect wedding venue and if we were getting married again, we’d definitely tie the knot there. The open day is going to be amazing.”
L-shaped Balbegno originally dates from the 1560s and has a Georgian wing attached.
For many years the castle was occupied as a grand farmhouse with a tenant, but was more recently taken back in hand by Fasque and Glendye Estates and fully refurbished to begin 21st Century life as a spectacular holiday home.
The castle’s focal point is the Great Hall, with a vaulted ceiling depicting the coats of arms of 13 Scottish peers.
The Fasque estate’s association with the Gladstone family was forged in 1829 when the main house was sold to merchant John Gladstone, whose family had formed in the Scottish Borders.
On Sir John’s death in 1851, Fasque House passed to William Gladstone’s elder brother, Thomas, but the politician remained a regular visitor to the family home, enjoying the spectacular setting of the vast estate in the shadow of the Cairngorms.
After first entering parliament in 1832 as a Tory in the cabinet of Robert Peel, William Gladstone would go on to follow a political path that led to four terms as both Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister before his final resignation from the latter post in 1894 at the age of 84.
Known by supporters as The People’s William or the GOM (Grand Old Man) he left parliament a year later and died in 1898.