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Burleigh Castle

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Burleigh Castle

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Canmore ID 27879

Site Number NO10SW 1

NGR NO 12890 04597

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Orwell
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Kinross-shire

Archaeology Notes

NO10SW 1 12890 04597

(NO 1289 0459) Burleigh Castle (NR)

(Remains of)

OS 6" map, (1950)

The keep appears to belong to the latter half of the 15th cent.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92.

The remains of Burleigh Castle consist of an early 16th century tower, 32ft 2ins by 27ft externally, with one wall and the SW tower of an enclosure wall built in 1582. The SW tower is entire and the north skew-put bears the date 1582 and initials S.I.B. & M.B. - evidently representing Sir James Balfour of Pittendreich, who died in 1583, and his wife Margaret Balfour.

On the west side the lines of a ditch can still be seen.

RCAHMS 1933.

As described above. On the west side of the castle the ditch appears as an irregular turfed-over depression about 25.0m long.

Earthwork surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (W D J), 19 December 1963.


Publication Account (1987)

Burleigh Castle presents a series of interesting elements which in themselves are unusual and which, when considered as a group, are not satisfactorily explained. The oldest part of the castle is the tower at the northern end of the site. This dates from the early 16th century. It has a simple rectangular plan rising to four storeys and an attic. In 1582, a second range was built, in alignment with the west wall of the original tower, running southwards to form the western boundary of a courtyard layout This range terminates in a small tower at the south-west angle of the courtyard. This small tower is complete but the rest of the extension including a south range has all but disappeared leaving only the west wall of the west range. These demolished buildings hold the key to the domestic arrangements of the entire building. The remaining evidence is slight and can only give an indication of the size of these buildings. The raggle in the south wall of the original tower suggests that the west range was of three storeys and the surviving two storey west wall, with no evidence of tusking for the third storey, suggests that the upper storey was constructed of timber. The south range is also known to have been three storeys, but was reduced in height prior to its final demolition. The south-west tower appears to have been entered from within the angle of the south and west ranges.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Fife and Tayside’, (1987).

Watching Brief (7 September 2010 - 15 September 2010)

NO 1291 0459 and NO 1287 0458 A watching brief was maintained 7–15 September 2010 during the excavation of small trenches to allow the installation of new gates in the wall to the SW of the castle (NO 1287 0458) and in the fence to the E (NO 1291 0459). The excavations indicated that both areas had been subject to alteration, but that in situ deposits might exist below the landscaping layers. It was therefore recommended that any future groundbreaking works should be monitored.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Historic Scotland

OASIS ID: kirkdale1-249878

Watching Brief (29 September 2011)

NO 1288 0458 A watching brief was maintained on 29 September 2011 during the excavation of a single trench for the footings of a new interpretation board. The excavation revealed ‘fill’ deposits over earlier ground surfaces. As the threshold of the main gateway is at the current ground level, this means that there may have been sloping ground (a ditch) within 5m of the main façade of the late 16th-century castle. The presence of the ‘fill’ deposits suggests that the ditch was more prominent in the relatively recent past, i.e. until the ground was levelled, perhaps during the late 19th century/early 20th century. This landscaping activity may be contemporary with the development of the neighbouring 19th-century steading. The reduced castle sits in conjunction with a series of carefully planned buildings, the cottages and outbuildings located on either side of the present A911 road. The ditch appears to have followed a wide and curving alignment, which cuts across the S end of the castle façade, suggesting it relates to an earlier period of fortification (mid-16th century or earlier).

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Historic Scotland

Kirkdale Archaeology, 2011

Information also reported in Oasis (kirkdale1-122351) 10 April 2012


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