Balgonie Castle, Fife
B road off A911 & B9130
Balgonie Castle is the oldest tower that is still standing intact in the Kingdom of Fife. Built for Sir Thomas Sibbald in the mid 14th century. The castle is perched on a steep bank overhanging the winding River Leven.
Built of the hardest of sandstone the castle is an imposing sight, rising 75 feet to the parapets.
Access to the castle is just off the road where there is a small car park. Do make sure you check whether there are any events on as the castle is a popular venue for weddings and other events
~ History ~
1246 ~ The lands of Balgonie are held by the Sibbalds.
1360 ~ Balgonie Castle is built for Sir Thomas Sibbald of Balgonie, deep within the heart of the kingdom of Fife. The castle consists of a barmkin, or fortified courtyard, with a tower house at the north-west corner
1496 ~ Sir Robert Lundin, following his appointment as Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, obtains the castle through marriage, builds the North Range as a result of which there is a defensive 10 foot gap between the range and the Tower. The range is a Hall House in its own right and includes a corner tower from an earlier time.
King James IV visits Balgonie and gives 18 shillings to the masons as a gift.
1565 ~ Mary, Queen of Scots visits the castle.
1624 ~ The Lundins sell Balgonie to two Boswell brothers.
1635 ~ Sir Alexander Leslie, a Scottish soldier who had fought for the Swedish army during the Thirty Years' War and who became First Earl of Leven, buys the castle. He adds a two-storey building at the south-east corner of the courtyard. He rebuilds the northern range, adding a storey. A watchtower is also added on the roof and a park constructed around the castle.
1650 ~ Sir Alexander Leslie, after years serving in the Swedish army as a Field Marshall, he is awarded the position of General in the Scottish army. At the Battle of Dunbar his forces are defeated by Oliver Cromwell. He is captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London where he is sentenced to death. Only the personal intervention of the Queen of Sweden saves him from execution. He is later released from the Tower four years later.
1660 ~ John Leslie, 7th Earl of Rothes, builds a grand stair, linking the original tower and north range, in the place of a wooden bridge.
1681 ~ David Melville becomes 7th earl of Leven and inherits Balgonie. He builds a three-storey range of buildings linking the north range with the south-east block.
1716 ~ Rob Roy MacGregor captures Balgonie Castle during a raid, although the castle is soon returned to the Melvilles.
1720's ~ David Melville, 6th Earl of Leven makes minor improvements, including the insertion of sash windows. Further buildings are also added within the courtyard.
1824 ~ The 8th Earl of Leven sells Balgonie Castle to Sir James Balfour of Whittinghame, who unfortunately is unable to maintain it and it gradually falls into ruin