A James Balfour of Burleigh was involved in the murder of Cardinal Beaton and was held as a french galley-slave for two years. On his return to Scotland he was appointed lord President of the Court of Session and he was instrumental in having James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton executed for his part in the murder of Lord Darnley.
In 1707 Robert Balfour fell in love with a local lass, but he was sent away as she was not of the 'right' class. When he returned, Balfour found that the lass had married a school master, whom he shot and killed. Balfour was captured and sentenced to death and only managed to escape execution by swapping clothes with his sister and escaping to France. Robert Balfour, 5th Lord Burleigh returned to Scotland to fight on the Jacobite side in the 1715 Rising and as a consequence the family estate was forfeit. Burleigh Castle then passed to the Irwins and finally to the Grahams of Kinross. The castle is now in the care of the state.