Ballinbreich Castle, Fife
2.5 miles north-east of Newburgh
Still an impressive ruin, although overgrown and crumbling, Ballinbreich Castle is a substantial 15th century courtyard castle that backs on to the River Tay.
Today the ruins are within a farmers field where permission should be sought first before exploring the ruins.
The name Ballinbreich is derived from an ancient Celtic name and is a corruption of "Balan-breac", meaning "town of trouts" - most appropriate with the castle overlooking the river Tay with its reputation for fishing.
~ History ~
1312 ~ The Leslie family acquire the property from the Abernethys and soon begin the building of a castle.
1457 ~ The family are made Earls of Rothes.
1513 ~ William Leslie, 3rd Earl of Rothes, is killed at the Battle of Flodden.
1558 ~ George Leslie,4th Earl of Rothes, one of the commissioners for the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, to the Dauphin of France, dies. The circumstances to his death are mysterious in that he, the Earls of Cassillis among others, all become ill at Dieppe in France, and die. Poison is suggested but cannot be proven.
1565 ~ Mary, Queen of Scots visits the castle.
1568 ~ Andrew Leslie, 5th Earl of Rothes, fights for Mary Queen of Scots at the Battle of Langside.
Mary's army is commanded by the Earl Argyll, who proves to be a poor military commander and it is even suggested by the opposing army that he even fainted at one point. The opposing commander Earl Moray proves to be the better commander and eventually the Queen's men crumble and are pursued by a party of Highlanders.
In all, some 300 men had been killed, a figure that almost certainly would have been much higher but for Moray's decision to avoid further bloodshed by ordering a halt to the pursuit. Many prisoners of note were taken. Mary and her escort ride off, first trying to reach Dumbarton Castle, but then turning south, eventually arriving at Dundrennan Abbey. From there she leaves for England, never to see Scotland again.
1638 ~ John Leslie, 6th Earl of Rothes, leads a Covenanter army.
1651 ~ John Leslie, 7th Earl of Rothes, follows his father's footsteps leading a Covenanter army. He is captured at the Battle of Worcester and remains in prison for the next seven years.
1663 ~ John is created Treasurer of Scotland following the Restoration.
1667 ~ John is created Chancellor of Scotland.
1680 ~ The family are elevated to Dukes of Rothes, but upon John's death, the title dies with him.