The lands and parish of Udnie lies in Aberdeenshire. The earliest certain record of this family appears in 1406, when Ranald de Uldeny received a charter of his lands from David II. It seems, however, that they had held these lands for a considerable period prior to the charter. Udny Castle, which still stands occupied to this day, is the most obvious evidence of the prominence of this family. The castle, lying about four miles south of Tarves, is a massive fortalice dominating the surrounding countryside. It is believed that building commenced in the first quarter of the fifteenth century and was completed and embellished over the next three generations. The costs of building nearly ruined the family, with extensions being added in the late sixteenth century and gables in the early seventeenth century. During the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, the Laird of Udney raised his followers in support of the queen’s cause; they were equally prominent in their adherence to Charles I against the forces of the Covenant. In 1634 John Udny of Udny acquired property in the Belhelvie area and went to live at Knockhall Castle. In 1693 Knockhall was attacked and captured by Covenant troops under the Earl of Errol and the Earl Marischal. The following year the castle was attacked again and was surrendered by Lady Udny but, as on the previous occasion, her husband, the Laird, escaped. Alexander, the twelfth of Udny, has become famous through his employment of James Fleming, renowned as the last professional fool, or jester, to be retained as part of a nobleman’s court. Despite his title, it was the Laird of Udny’s fool who saved the family from certain death in a fire which destroyed Knockhall Castle in 1734.