Spynie is regarded as one of the finest tower houses in the land. Long in a state of neglect it is now under the protection of Historic Scotland who have undertaken a extensive programme of repairs and excavations.
It stands a short distance from Elgin and was the palace (or residence) of its bishops whose magnificent cathedral still dominates that town. The fact that it was fortified should not excite comment as this was normal in Scotland the greatest example of which was to be found at Glasgow until its destruction in the 1790s.
The great tower, or 'Davie's Tower', was built Bishop David Stewart (1461-75) who at feud with the Duke of Gordon was perhaps taking more than the normal precautions. It rises to 70 feet to a boldly corbelled parapet with walls of 10 feet in thickness. The wide mouth gun holes at ground level are insertions of the 16th century indicating that defense was being updated to accommodate firearms.
There are remains of an irregular enclosure flanked by corner towers and entered by an elaborate gatehouse incorporating a portcullis. Unsurprisingly there is a large chapel.