Burleigh Castle

Milnathort, United Kingdom

The remains of Burleigh Castle are located just outside the village of Milnathort. It now sits beside the A911 road, opposite a 19th-century steading, recently adapted into housing.

The lands of Burleigh were held by the Balfours from 1456, when they were granted by James II to John Balfour of Balgarvie, and a tower house was erected in the late 15th or early 16th century. Sir James Balfour of Pittendreich extended the castle in the late 16th century, adding a curtain wall with a corner tower, and other outbuildings. James VI of Scotland was a frequent visitor in the castle in the time of his son, Sir Michael Balfour. 

The remains of the castle comprise the western part of what was once a square courtyard or barmkin. In the north-west corner, the original tower house survives largely intact (though one of the first floor windows has been greatly enlarged) to three storeys and a garret in height. The 1.5 m thick walls rise to corbels which once supported a parapet walk. The roof and internal floors are now gone, although the vaulted basement remains. The turnpike stair in the north-east corner originally led up to a caphouse giving access to the parapet walk.

To the south-west is a 16th-century corner tower, two storeys high above a basement, which retains its roof. The tower is round at the base, and corbelled out to a square upper storey, and is a particularly fine and picturesque example of Scottish baronial architecture of the period. Its masonry is happily very well preserved. Both this tower and the keep have gun loops around the base to deter attackers. The corner tower also has small round pistol-holes at cap-house level, though these may have been included more for their decorative effect than to provide a true defensive capability. Engraved on the north gable is the date 1582, and the initials IB and MB, for Sir James Balfour and his wife Margaret. The two towers are connected by a section of curtain wall pierced by an arched gate. Though now only a 'skin' of masonry, this wall once fronted a two-storey gatehouse. With its string-course, hood-mould over the gateway and moulded surround formerly containing a heraldic panel, this wall is an excellent example of small-scale but refined architectural sophistication of its period in Scotland (probably contemporary with the round corner tower). A defensive moat may have surrounded the barmkin in the past.

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Details

Founded: 15th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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User Reviews

tbhgykblohagkrofnridfnfidnrkorktj69ieoj (9 months ago)
Nothing much to see when there but still very pretty. Right next to the main road. No tickets as it's just a ruin in a field.
Scott Johnson (9 months ago)
There's no real parking and half the castle is closed off, still what you can see is interesting
Leslie Mitchell (13 months ago)
Small but difficult to park safely nice example of a small Scottish castle with a lot of history the Balfours from 1456. Mary of Guise visited as did James the sixth a frequent visitor . access is not available but you can enter the grounds and walk round
stewart johnston (2 years ago)
All castles are cool, but this one's a little underwhelming. That's partly due to it being closed. It's only open during the summer. Will revisit when it's open. That being said it's a great piece of history which is still standing
travel with gem (2 years ago)
Great building to view but at the moment its fenced off due to falling masonry.
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