by Affordable Tours

This version (2015/08/18 08:24) was approved by afftrs.


Basic Info

Name: Balgonie
Country: Scotland

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A substantial castle of Fifteenth-century beginnings standing on the south bank of the Leven. Belgonie is a gaunt, dilapidated structure as seen from a distance, but restoring work has been in progress for some while. The main rectangular great tower of four stories plus garret was built of ashlar blocks and is complete to the roof. This was renovated recently. Additional buildings were raised in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. the latter by the Earl of Leven, and remains of these are still standing.

The following information was researched by our volunteer team member Carolyn D. Ahrns from Las Vegas, NV. Thank you very much!

Balgonie Castle is home to many ghosts. The ‘Green Lady’, the castle’s most famous spirit, “recorded in 1842 as being a well known phantom”. The ghost of a 17th century soldier and the spirit of a dog are are just two of the many other haunts. Balgonie’s Great Hall sounds so charming, described as “a 14th century candlelit Hall”, but there has been more than one apparition seen here. And, even more erie, many visitors claim to have herd ghostly voices wispiering in the while in the Great Hall.


Balgonie Castle was built by Sir Thomas Sibbald of Balgonie, Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, in the 14th century. His family has held this land since 1246, possibly longer. Sir Sibbald had started building what has turned out to be one of the finest 14th century ‘Towers’ in Scotland. “It consists of a fine 14th century keep with a crenellated battlement and corbiestepped gables”. The massive Tower House has added to and improved upon for centuries, until the final wing was built in 1702 by the 3rd Earl of Leven. In 1689 he founded the King’s Own Scottish Borders, and he was the first Governor of the Bank of Scotland.

“The 1st Earl of Leven and Lord Balgonie, was the most famous Laird of Balgonie, who, as Sir Alexander Leslie, was Field Marshall to the Swedish Crown, serving the first twenty years of the Thirty Years War. Returning to Scotland, Leslie was appointed Lord General of the Scottish Army of the Covenant during the English Civil War.”

Sir Leslie bought the castle in 1635, six years later he was created 1st Earl of Leven and Lord Balgonie.

Some of the castle’s more famous guests were, King James IV, in 1496, Mary Queen of Scots in 1565, and Rob Roy MacGregor. MacGregor along with 200 clansmen garrisoned Balgonie, with 20 Hanovarian prisoners in January 1716.

The castle has changed hands several times during its 700 years existence, fell to ruin, and restored in the late 1970’s.

With it’s colorful historic background, the present Laird and Lady of Balgonie are drawing up plans for a long term restoration program “to return Balgonie Castle to its former glory.”

Balgonie Castle also has a charming 14th century ‘candlelit' Chapel. In one of the most romantic settings in Scotland, makes this the perfect wedding venue.

“Balgonie is a rare example of a working castle and a living museum and has appeared on national and international TV programs. The Laird is a founding member of the Scottish Castles Association. The castle is open to the public every day of the year.”

Information obtained from: The Balgonie Castle Web Site, 50, and

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Last modified:: 2015/08/18 13:06