Balvenie Castle

Balvenie Castle Details

Balvenie Castle, ruined C13 courtyard castle of the Comyns with C16 ruined palace of Earls of Atholl later used by the Inneses.

  • Closest To: Dufftown
  • Access: Chargeable Public Access
  • Grid Reference: NJ325408

Balvenie Castle, also known as Mortlach Castle, is a ruined 13th century courtyard castle which was remodelled by the Douglases in the 15th century and the Stewart Earl of Atholl in the 16th. Occupied into the late 17th century, it was derelict during the Jacobite period and is now managed by Historic Environment Scotland.

The castle of Mortlach was held by the Comyn family in the 13th century, and restored after the Wars of Independence by the Randolph earls of Moray and their successors the Dunbars. Passing to the Douglases in the 15th century, a large new block was added, perhaps a Great Tower of sorts, only to be damaged during the overthrow of the Douglases in the 1450s. The resulting structure was then retained and repaired into the 16th century, when the then earl of Atholl built the luxurious new Atholl Lodging to enable him to adequately entertain Queen Mary in 1562.

Repeatedly garrisoned in the 17th century, by 1720 Balvenie Castle (as it had become known) had become derelict and was last used as a barracks at about this time.

Official Historic Scotland page

HES Canmore database entry

Become a supporter of my work to access a more detailed history