Meet the Family & Teams that Make Winton Estate & Winton Castle

The Winton teams have grown substantially since the castle was launched as an exclusive use hospitality and events venue in 2000.

Please meet the teams and individuals who all play vital roles in running the Estate and the Castle.

Winton Events Team

Ogilvy Family

Conserve inheritance from the past. Balance the books for today. Dream of the future.

Sir Francis Ogilvy

Sir Francis Ogilvy

Trustee-owner and factor for the estate with a surveyor’s training in Edinburgh and Angus.

Winton was Sir Francis’s childhood home and he has striven to make it such for his own family of four children.

He enjoys a project where the result is to improve the use and effectiveness of the estate and contribute to the local economy. If he could mix business with pleasure, it would include music and sporting challenges.

Dorothy Ogilvy

Winton has been Dorothy’s home since marrying Francis in 1996.

Whilst raising four children, she taught piano part-time and involved herself both in local and Edinburgh-based musical activity. When children began to fly the nest, she retrained as a music therapist and now divides her time between getting involved in the many Winton projects that are happening and music therapy-related work.

In any precious minutes of spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, gardening, music, and reading.

Winton Events

Provide parties for presidents. And Winton Games for sales teams. Conjure fairytale weddings. And last to shut the doors.

Rae McGonigle

Events & Operations Administrator

Rae has been linked with Winton Castle for over 30 years, having grown up on the surrounding Estate where she & her family still live.

She began work at Winton Castle back in 2002 with the catering team on some of the first events to take place at the venue. Over the years she has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience, and was at the helm of most of the Weddings for 13 years and has now moved to a more operational role in the running of the Castle.

Rae is a country girl through and through and enjoys being outside in the sun, wind and rain, or sitting by an open fire with a nice cup of tea watching one of her 1000+ DVDs. She and her husband Paul have 3 beautiful and energetic girls who keep her busy in her ‘spare’ time.

Julie Britee

Sales Manager

Julie joined Winton in early 2010 and brings with her over 30 years of experience in the Tourism & Hospitality Industry. She is never allowed to forget that she has been in the industry longer than some of the team have been alive but her sage wisdom and experience are ALWAYS deferred to.

A cosmopolitan girl at heart (her Mastermind specialist subject would be shopping), she has grown to love estate life and has even been spotted enjoying some of Winton’s outdoor activities!

Johanne Falconer

Wedding Co-ordinator

Johanne joined the Winton Team in December 2022 bringing with her a wealth of experience gained within exclusive five-star hotels, Fonab Castle in the Highlands of Scotland, The Bonham and The Howard in central Edinburgh and historic wedding venue, Borthwick Castle, to name but a few.

Johanne loves to travel, having journeyed around the world in 2013, and enjoys being outdoors enjoying a walk along the beaches near home in East Lothian. Any spare time is spent trying new restaurants or having a cosy night in reading or watching a good murder mystery on TV.

Janis Ward

Activities & Events Manager

Janis joined Winton July 2008 and since this time her role has grown and developed. Today Janis plays a key role in events at Winton Castle, from Gala Dinners, Conferences, Winton Highland Games, Corporate Team Building days to taking Winton Woodfuel log orders. Janis is our dedicated Winton Trail Run organiser and loves the outdoors.

She enjoys running as a hobby and is always looking for new events to stretch her abilities.

Lexi Bell

Events & Self Catering Co-ordinator

Lexi joined the events team in April 2018, she studied Creative Media and loves working in historic places such as Leeds Castle, Archerfield Estate and now Winton Castle!

She spends her free time rambling around the East Lothian countryside, kayaking, reading novels and travelling.

Fay Hardwick

Events Co-ordinator

Fay joined the Winton team in April 2018 and brings with her hospitality and events experience from Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh and Switzerland where she spent six years living in Zermatt.

When Fay is not enjoying country adventures from her family farm in Fife, she can be found following her other passions of art history and calligraphy, or as a keen mixologist, concocting a variety of virtuous cocktails!

Emily Hope

Events Assistant

Emily joined the events team at Winton in November 2023 and brings with her hospitality experience from Kent, Norfolk and now Scotland! She loves working in the historical sector such as Hever Castle in Kent and now here at Winton Castle.

She spends her free time trying new food spots, walking around the countryside and visiting various historical palaces and castles.


Polish the Chippendales and dust away the stour; Warm the bed pans. And arrange the flo’ers.

Hazel Parker

Head Housekeeper

Joining Winton in 2004 and becoming Head of Housekeeping in 2007, Hazel manages the busy house keeping team.

Throughout this time Hazel has seen many changes and witnessed the growth of the business. What has remained throughout this time is her dedication to high standards of cleanliness!

Guests tell us we have the cleanest, best kept stately home in Scotland. Hear! Hear!

Susan, Lorna, Carol & Elaine

Castle Housekeepers

Susan, Lorna, Carol & Elaine complete the friendly team behind the scenes at the castle. Laying the fireplaces, ironing tablecloths and polishing the candelabras, all the little touches to make your visit magical.

Stephanie, Jane, Jeni, Avril & Carol

Self-Catering Housekeepers

Stephanie, Jane, Jeni, Avril & Carol make up our dedicated housekeeping team for our three large self-catering farmhouses. Following diligent cleaning protocols for your peace of mind, allowing you to truly relax and enjoy your country escape.

Caretaking & Grounds

Offer TLC for an ancient building. Keep out the water – keep in the heat. Move around the furniture and glue back the feet!

Scott Ballantyne

Head Caretaker

Scott joined the team in 2021 bringing a variety of the skills needed to tackle the many facets of his important role as Caretaker at Winton.

With over 2 decades in the motor trade doing after sales, along with a wealth of other practical and hands-on experience from hospitality and road and pavement artistry, Scott is well-placed to take on the challenges of a castle and all the events inside and out!

Scott is a family guy and spends most of his spare time enjoying the outdoors of East Lothian with his family.

Douglas Thomson

Grounds & Assistant Caretaker

Dependable like Mr Ben to be there when you need him and always willing to help. He draws from a lifetime’s experience of gardening where he could drive a tractor before he could walk (almost).

He remains the Highland Games caber champion and can turn his hand to most outdoor work as well as assisting with caretaking duties. Off and on the estate – he can be found moving bee hives.

Seumas Grant


Calling Kenya his home, Seumas found ‘temporary summer work’ at Winton, but has successfully been persuaded to stay. Having studied agriculture and then completing his safari guiding course in South Africa, so working on the castle grounds suits him perfectly. His real passion is to expand Winton’s biodiversity and conservation opportunities.

He can be found birding, reading or playing tennis in his spare time.

Neil Davidson

Head Gardener

Neil was born secateurs in hand ready to prune anything in his way. To nurture (and tame) these skills, he undertook horticultural training at Brackenhurst college in Nottinghamshire.

He moved to Edinburgh in 2007 to work at the Botanics and joined the Winton team in September 2023.

When he’s not finessing the grounds at Winton Neil enjoys the countryside, a good book and a wee dram of whisky on a dark winter’s night.

Sarah Payne

Assistant Gardener

Sarah is former horticulturalist trainee of The MacRobert Trust in Aberdeenshire but originally coming from the sunny south in Brighton.

She joined in early 2022 to assist Erika in continuing the legacy of nurturing and developing the beautiful gardens at Winton.

She has a love for cut flowers, drinking tea and being near the sea.


A merry band of three.

Gordon Smith

Forestry Foreman

Gordon Smith worked as a silvicultural contractor at Winton since the last forestry team was disbanded and now leads a merry band of four! He knows the job inside out having done it since school in the Borders so he’s enjoying passing on his knowledge and skills to three 33 year olds – all from different backgrounds.

Joe & Chris Foresters at Winton Estate

Joe & Chris


Chris Withers is an adventurer, technician, guide and coach in the great outdoors on the water, on snow or leading expeditions off Coll, with a degree in Environmental Studies on the side.

Joe Cox is a Lancastrian mountain goat on two legs or two wheels who followed his passion through his twenties on the other side of the globe to pro-level; having immersed himself amongst nature, now wants to make a contribution for a better environment.

Activity Instructors

Trickster shooting for the visitors, Pheasants feathered for flight; Controlling Roe deer numbers, and vermin when out at night.

Billy Gordon

Shooting Instructor

As 24 times Scottish champion, he has every reason to show off, but takes persuasion. An instructor second to none, with novice and experienced guns.

Hugh Roberts

Off Road Driving Instructor

Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Ford, Jeep or even quad bikes, Hugh has experience with them all! Offering off-road driving experiences or driver training on our purpose build track, you’ll be in safe hands with our own BORDA qualified instructor.