Monster of Glamis

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Monster of Glamis

Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 1:45 am

Monster of Glamis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Monster of Glamis , sometimes referred to as the Horror of Glamis, is reportedly a deformed member of the Bowes-Lyon family, kept in seclusion in Glamis Castle, Scotland.
The Bowes-Lyon family is one of the oldest clans of the British or, more specificially, Scottish aristocracy.
Whether the life of the "Monster" is fact or myth is hard to determine. What follows is an account of various reports.
The alleged "monster" of Glamis was Thomas Lyon-Bowes, rightful Lord Glamis first child of George Bowes-Lyon and Charlotte Grimstead, later the Dowager Lady Glamis. They were the great-great grandparents of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who became queen in 1936.
Thomas was recorded in Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland as "born and died, October 21, 1821".
The legend of his survival appears to have started in local villages as the result of an account by the midwife (whose name has not been recorded). The deformed child was alleged to have been in rude health when the midwife left, causing suspicion when his death was announced a day or two later. The child Thomas has no gravestone, a matter which tends to support the initial rumours. (Thomas had been baptised as a Christian on birth).
He was said to have been nursed through infancy in secret and later confined in one of Glamis Castle's many (and several are known) secret rooms.
This part of the story of Thomas did not become current until the 1960s, when family accounts were first published.
The entrance to his chamber, which is recounted as measuring 10ft by 15ft, was off the chapel. There is no known account of how the room was accessible, but presumably it would have been through a removable panel or somesuch as there is no visible entrance from the chapel. In 1969, the Queen Mother's biographer Michael Thornton visited Glamis and was told by the sixteenth Earl that the entrance had been bricked up after Thomas's death.
The details of Thomas's appearance -- "His chest an enormous barrel, hairy as a doormat, his head ran straight into his shoulders and his arms and legs were toylike" -- come from James Wentworth-Day's The Queen Mother's Family Story. They are attributed to "a member of the Queen Mother's family." Wentworth-Day's account is the first in which the information was gathered direct from members of the Queen mother's family, even though they were understandably reluctant to be named. It is suspected that on several occasions, the Queen Mother herself was the source.
In Peter Underwood's A-Z of British Ghosts he is described as "an enormous flabby egg".
Thomas was fed daily through an iron grille in his cell door by one trusted servant.
It is not believed that Thomas ever left this cell, but some associated rumours claim that he was occasionally exercised by being taken for a walk, like a dog, on the battlements on moonless nights. The castle has a section named Mad Earl's Walk to this day.
Wentworth-Day describes a tale whereby a workman carrying out renovation at Glamis in the early 1900s found the secret passage, and explored it, and became "alarmed" at what he found there. The Earl and his lawyer were summoned from London, and they stopped the work and interrogated the man. The result of this was that he was bribed into silence and emigration (to Australia) with several hundred thousand pounds of hush money.
Also from Wentworth-Day comes the story of the Queen Mother's mother, the Countess of Strathmore, trying to get the Glamis factor Andrew Ralston to tell her the truth about the family secret. He told her "it is fortunate you do not know the truth for if you did you would never be happy." Only the Earl and his heir were ever fully in the know, told the secret - as they should know they were not the rightful inheritor of the title - on his 21st birthday. Once the "monster" had died the heir was given a choice as to whether they wanted to know or not, there no longer being a reason why they must be told and to save them distress.
It is claimed that the workman event happened in the 1870s. This would indicate that Thomas was in his fifties at the time. The circumstances and date of his death are unknown. Thomas's mother, Charlotte Grimstead, died in 1881. In another event, guests at the castle, upon hearing rumours of the monster, decided to hang a piece of rag from every window in the castle that they could access. Upon surveying their work, they found a number of windows ragless, and therefore termed them secret rooms. Unfortunately, the Earl returned and discovered their experiment and threw them from the grounds.
Embellishments to the story include descriptions of the "monster" being evil and still being alive or having lived for over a hundred years.
A second son, Thomas George, was born on September 28, 1822 without deformity and eventually became the 12th Earl of Strathmore.[edit]


  • The Queen Mother's Family Story - James Wentworth-Day (Robert Hale, London, 1967).


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