Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ballinbreich Castle North Fife

Most days I travel to Newburgh and each time in passing I gaze at the ruins of this castle and think of the times when it was alive and vibrant. Apparently the stonework from the beginning was of unusually high standard and over time has been understandably robbed of choice pieces. Ballinbreich is one of the oldest celtic names in Fife and is a corruption of Balan-breac, meaning "town of trouts". This is of course a reference to the salmon to be found there, and even in modern times it has enjoyed the reputation of being a first class fishing station. Alas no longer as the nets have gone along with the decline of salmon and trout.

Ballinbreich (popularly Bambreich), a ruined ancient castle in Flisk parish, North Fife, on a steep bank overhanging the Firth of Tay, 2¾ miles NE of Newburgh. It was a parallelogram, 180 feet long by 70 wide, with an enclosed court; consisted, on three sides, of buildings four stories high, on the fourth side of a high curtain wall; was surrounded by a moat; and is now a mere shattered shell, of picturesque outline, embosomed in a small plantation. The Earls of Rothes long resided in it, and took from it the title Baron Ballinbreich (cre. 1457). The estate connected with it was purchased by Sir Lawrence Dundas, grandfather of the first Earl of Zetland. An ancient place of worship stood adjacent to the E side of the castle, on what is still called Chapel Hill.