is one of seven Tower-houses or Keeps in Kinross-shire, the others being Lochleven,
Arnot, Dowhill, Cleish, Aldie and Tullibole. Each castle is said to be within
sight of at least one other so that beacon warnings of approaching enemies could
be passed quickly round the county.
Burleigh Castle was built in the 15th Century; all that remains is an old four
storey tower joined by a curtain wall to a smaller round tower which was the gate-house,
added in 1582. In the curtain wall are an archway and several gun-loops. The whole
building was once surrounded by a moat. (It is said to be haunted by the ghost
of Grey Maggie).
The Balfour family, Barons of Burleigh, who held positions in the royal household
for many years, owned the surrounding lands from 1456, but they were forfeited
to the Crown in 1571 by Balfour of Pittendreich, and again after the Jacobite
Rebellion in 1715.
Robert, the 5th Lord Balfour, had a wild and tragic career. While still the young
Master of Burleigh, he was sent abroad by his parents to forget a love affair
with a local maiden; on his return he found her married to the schoolmaster of
Inverkeithing whom he killed in a fit of jealousy. He was sentenced to prison
at the High Court in Edinburgh but soon escaped by exchanging clothes with his
sister. For some time he hid in an old tree near the castle (called Burleigh's
hole) until he escaped to the Continent. He returned to take part in the ill-fated
rising of 1715 and died leaving no heirs.
The title was in abeyance for 100 years and the castle fell into ruins. In 1868
Mr Alexander Bruce of Kennet, Clackmannanshire, was allowed to revive the title
of Lord Balfour of Burleigh, and subsequently held office as Lord in Waiting to
Queen Victoria, and Secretary of State for Scotland 1895-1903.
The castle is open to the public from 1st April - 30th September
09.30 - 18.00hrs
Key available from 2, Burleigh Castle Steading, Milnathort, KY13 9GG, Telephone
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