john balfour

Burleigh Castle, Scotland

The lands of Burleigh were held by the Balfours from 1446, 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. In 1607 his son Sir Michael Balfour was raised to the peerage as Lord Balfour of Burleigh.

Legend tells how Robert Balfour, before his accession as 5th Lord, narrowly escaped death when, in 1707, he was sentenced to beheading for the murder of the schoolmaster of Inverkeithing, who had the misfortune to have married Balfour’s childhood sweetheart. Escaping from Edinburgh tolbooth, Balfour joined the Jacobite cause, proclaiming the ‘Old Pretender’ James Stuart king at Lochmaben, and fighting in the 1715 rising. Following the defeat of the Jacobites, Balfour was attainted, dying in France in 1757. The castle was forfeit to the Irwins, then passed to the Grahams of Kinross.

The castle stands near the village of Milnathort, just north of Loch Leven in Perth and Kinross, Scotland.

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