UK Travel Guide


Burleigh Castle

Description: Burleigh Castle is a small 16th century tower house that is located near Loch Leven. Although once a large and imposing castle, Burleigh Castle now consists of a ruined 15th-century keep, a section of courtyard wall with a gate, and a corner tower. Burleigh has an interesting feature, in that the corner tower is round at the base, but corbelled out to square at the top, ostensibly for more floor space. The caphouse at Burleigh is dated 1582. The walls have many shotholes and gunports, and some of the wooden sills remain in the walls. The rectangular keep opposite the round tower had a corbelled-out parapet and garret, but those are gone except for a few stones. The entrance to the castle led through a lobby to a turnpike stair. As in many large castles, the basement is vaulted, and the hall was on the first floor. Burleigh was a property of the Balfours of Burleigh, who built the castle, from 1446 and was visited often by James VI. The castle remained in the family until 1757, when it was lost because of the bad behaviour of its master. In 1707 the Master of Burleigh fell in love with a young servant girl, and was sent abroad to forget her. He swore if she married he would return and slay her husband. She married Henry Stenhouse, the schoolmaster of Inverkeithing, and Burleigh duly returned then shot and killed the poor man. In 1709 Burleigh was captured, tried and sentenced to be beheaded. He managed to escape by exchanging clothes with his sister, and fled to the continent. He returned and fought for the Jacobites in the 1715 Rising, after which the family were forfeited. Burleigh died unmarried in 1757, when the castle passed to the Irwins, then to the Grahams of Kinross.
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