Balvenie Castle was built in the late 13th century for the Comyns, Earls of Buchan. During the wars of Independence with England the Comyns sided with the English king, Edward I. In 1308 they were defeated in battle by Robert the Bruce and fled into exile.
In the early 15th century the castle was owned by the ‘Black Douglases’, one of the most powerful families in Scotland. Following the murder of William Douglas at the hands of King James II, the Black Douglases rebelled against the Stewart king. This was the excuse James needed to destroy the family, and by 1455 they were defeated and all their titles and estates were forfeited to the Crown. In 1460 the king granted Balvenie to John Stewart, first earl of Atholl.
The curtain wall that surrounds this courtyard castle was built by the Comyns, but the eastern side of the castle was completely remodelled in the 16th century by John Stewart, 4th earl of Atholl. He added a grand accommodation range that included a round tower on the east corner. When the fifth earl of Atholl died in 1595 he was survived by four daughters who surrendered their interests in the estates to the Crown. The castle frequently changed hands but remained occupied until the suicide of its owner, William Duff, in 1718. The castle was unroofed by 1724 and rapidly fell into ruin.
- Near the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, off the A941
- Balvenie Castle, Dufftown, Moray
- Historic Scotland. Open to public. Entrance fee for non-members.
- For further information visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
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