Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Balvaird Castle

Balvaird Castle is a well preserved L-plan tower house which dates from the late 15th century. Balvaird was originally a property of the Barclays that passed by marriage to the Murrays of Tullibardine c1495 and they built the castle, possibly as their marital home. The arms of Sir Andrew Murray and Margaret Barclay are prominently displayed above the front door

Balvaird Castle is unusual for a tower house of that age in Scotland  because of the visible remains of its ancillary buildings, ranged around inner and outer courtyards, a formal.walled garden and the larger  'pleasance' or park.

This L-plan tower house was the last word in sophisticated design at the turn of the 15th century in Scotland. The circular stair was placed at the junction of the two wings so as not to use any internal space. The privies are situated at the junction of the west wing and were flushed with rain water collected in a tank on the roof.

The Murrays of Balvaird were the forebears of the family that were later created Viscounts Stormont and Earls of Mansfield. As they rose the aristocratic ladder the Murrays extended Balvaird Castle. When the 2nd Lord Balvaird succeeded as 4th Viscount Stormont in 1658 the family left Balvaird for Scone to the north of Perth and the old castle declined in importance until it ended up as a home for landless agricultural workers.