Balcomie Castle, Fife

Balcomie Castle, near Crail in Fife is a 6th Century L-plan tower house of five storeys and a garret, to which has been added an 18th century house. There is also a fragment of a massive wall overlooking the harbour.

 

The main block has an offset square wing, which only joins the main block at one corner. A small stair tower is corbelled out in one re-entrant angle, linking the first and second floors. Two two-storey bartizans, both with shot-holes, crown the wing's gable.

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The small gatehouse also survives. There is a walled garden. The fine plastered ceilings from here were taken to Dean Castle, near Kilmarnock where other Scott motifs can be seen, such as the cushion cover shown on the right

 

The estate belonged to the Hays in 1278 and 1375, then James Learmonth was given the lands of Balcomie in 1526. The gatehouse has the date 1602 and the arms of another John Learmonth and his wife Elizabeth Myreton. It later became owned by the Hopes in 1705 before passing to the Scotts of Scotstarvit before being obtained by the Erskine Earls of Kellie.

 

Balcomie is now a working farm and all that remains of the old castle is the keep. A wing of the farmhouse is available for rent as a holiday home.  The castle, Including Farmhouse and Steading is a grade B listed building.

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