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Balvenie Castle


Balvenie Castle is a ruined castle situated near the town of Dufftown.

Balvenie is entered through an unusual double-leafed yett. The pend passes through the 4th Earl of Atholl’s Lodging, which has a fine round tower at the external corner and a smaller stair turret in the inner re-entrant. The cobbled courtyard is surrounded by buildings, some more ruinous than others.

Balvenie Castle History

The Comyns built the original castle, known as Mortlach, in the 12th century.

Part of this may survive in the present courtyard, but alterations were made to it over the centuries. In the 16th century Balvenie was extended by the addition of a domestic block (to the left of the entrance).

The Atholl lodging was added to the right of this between 1547 and 1557, the windows having decorative stonework and small orioles at second floor level. There are heraldic panels on the walls.

The ruinous west range probably dates from the 15th century and then contained a kitchen, brew house, and great chamber with the hall above. Only low walls of these buildings survive. In the courtyard is a deep well.

Balvenie was originally a Comyn seat, followed by the Douglas’s, but in 1470 it was granted to John Stewart, later 1st Earl of Atholl. Mary, Queen of Scots stayed in 1562. The castle remained in Stewart hands until 1610 after which it had numerous owners until bought by Alexander Duff.

The Balvenie Castle was used as a garrison during the Jacobite rebellion but was abandoned following Culloden, as Duff had erected a classical Balvenie House nearby in 1724. The Duke of Fife placed the castle in state care in 1929.

Balvenie Castle Map&Location

Directions: Castle Rd, Moray AB55, UK
Approximate Geographic Coordinates:  57.453145,-3.124411

View Balvenie Castle in a larger map

Balvenie Castle Photos

Source:,uk - Click on the images to enlarge
Balvenie Castle
Balvenie Castle courtyard
Balvenie Castle garden
Balvenie Castle grounds
Balvenie Castle interior ruins
Balvenie Castle Gunloop
  Balvenie Castle walls - Photos:,uk