Balvenie Castle

Dufftown, United Kingdom

Originally known as Mortlach, Balvenie Castle was built in the 12th century by a branch of the powerful Comyn family (the Black Comyns) and was extended and altered in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The castle fell out of use following an attack by Robert the Bruce in 1308, which left the property uninhabitable. At some point in the 14th century the castle and estates of Balvenie passed to the Earl of Douglas. Nothing is documented as to how the Black Douglases first acquired the castle but the most likely account is that it came with the marriage of the heiress Joanna Murray to Archibald, 3rd Earl of Douglas in 1362. His son and successor Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas granted his younger brother James Douglas, 7th Earl of Douglas, the lordship of Balvenie in 1408. James's main residence was at Abercorn Castle, a coastal fortress to the west of Edinburgh and Balvenie Castle's use was as temporary accommodation when the need arose.

In 1440, William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas was killed by James the Gross, probably in a conspiracy with William Crichton and Alexander Livingston of Callendar, the guardians of the then child-king James II. James 'the Gross then became the 7th earl. James immediately provided the lordship of Balvenie with its castle to his youngest son, John Douglas, Lord of Balvenie. Earl James's death in 1443 signaled a resumption of the hostility between the royal Stewarts and the Black Douglases. The Battle of Arkinholm in May 1455 saw the defeat of this, the main Douglas line by an army loyal to James II. All of their lands and titles were forfeited to the Crown, including Balvenie Castle. King James divided up the estates among his supporters, which included the Douglas Earl of Angus and provided Balvenie Castle to Sir John Stewart, who later became the first Earl of Atholl.

William Duff committed suicide in the castle in 1718 and it was effectively abandoned at that point. It was used by Hanoverian forces as an encampment in 1746 during the second Jacobite rebellion.

Today, the remains of the castle are managed by Historic Environment Scotland as a scheduled monument. However, ownership continues in private hands; the current owner is Jeremy Duncan Nicholson, Baron of Balvenie, who resides in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. The castle is open to the public from the beginning of April to the end of September.

Balvenie whisky is produced by William Grant & Sons at the Balvenie distillery down the hill from the castle.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dumith Priyadarshana (2 years ago)
Beautiful castle but it's only open during summer time. You can see the Highland cows near by field if you like to see.
Neil Morrison (2 years ago)
Unfortunately the castle was closed for structural safety work when I went but the engineer from Historic Scotland was helpful enough to guide me to areas where I could see the structure without getting in the way or compromising safety. I'll give it another look when I'm next in the area as the images on google suggest its worth a wander round when it's fully open.
jani lehtonen (4 years ago)
Awesome service, great selection of whiskys and authentic athmosphere
Corey Thibeault (4 years ago)
Only open during the summer months. Sadly being here in February it wasnt. Google said it was open.
Roy Patel (5 years ago)
Great castle. There is a person who can give more info about the castle and a bathroom. Very interesting tour
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

The Church of the Holy Cross

The church of the former Franciscan monastery was built probably between 1515 and 1520. It is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Rauma. The church stands by the small stream of Raumanjoki (Rauma river).

The exact age of the Church of the Holy Cross is unknown, but it was built to serve as the monastery church of the Rauma Franciscan Friary. The monastery had been established in the early 15th century and a wooden church was built on this location around the year 1420.

The Church of the Holy Cross served the monastery until 1538, when it was abandoned for a hundred years as the Franciscan friary was disbanded in the Swedish Reformation. The church was re-established as a Lutheran church in 1640, when the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed by fire.

The choir of the two-aisle grey granite church features medieval murals and frescoes. The white steeple of the church was built in 1816 and has served as a landmark for seafarers.