Community / No record of barony title at Muness, archivist says

Photo © Colin Park (cc-by-sa/2.0)

FURTHER doubts have been cast over claims that the sale of Muness Castle in Unst could come with a barony title.

An offer worth more than £180,000 for the castle and surrounding land was made last week.

Its auction listing said it was believed the castle would come with a barony title, although the buyer was advised to investigate this further.

A Scottish barony title is an officially recognised noble title available to purchase. Barony titles are personal titles separated from the land that they formerly belonged to.

Local archivist and historian Brian Smith said there is, however, no historical record of a barony being linked to Muness.

“The reason that some of the stuff that we’ve seen about it was at least cautious, that there ‘may be a barony title’, is simply because it’s something that the laird of Muness tried to do something about four centuries ago but failed,” he explained.


The castle was built for Laurence Bruce in the late 1500s, and Smith said “there’s no historical record at all where the Bruces are described as barons of Muness”.

Speaking to Shetland News earlier this week, landowner Gavin Farquhar claimed his reasons for selling up was because of the Scottish Government offering “no encouragement for anybody to do anything in the capitalist economy”.

He bought the castle and land for £65,000 back in 2006.

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