Castles in Fife
Bordered by the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, Fife was originally a Pictish kingdom which enjoyed a strong farming, mining and fishing legacy. Fife, or the Kingdom of Fife as it is often called, has played quite a large role in the history of the country and it enjoys a rich historical legacy. One of Fife’s more renowned town’s is that of St Andrew – the birthplace of golf and the home of the University of St Andrews and St Andrews Castle. Most visitors to Fife will take their time to travel the countryside – visiting abbeys, museums, gardens and bridges. However, no trip to Fife would be complete without visiting at least some of the beautiful castles which can be found here. So take your time and make sure that you include at least one or two of the castles in Fife in your travel plans.
Aberdour Castle in Fife grew from west to east over five hundred years. The first construction dates from before 1200, when a two storey tower house was built by the de Mortimer family. Parts of this collapsed in1844 and 1919, but some ruins are visible at the western end of the castle. These parts are of one of the oldest masonry castles still standing in Scotland.
Balgonie Castle is the oldest tower that is still standing intact in the Kingdom of Fife. Built for Sir Thomas Sibbald of Balgonie around 1360, the baronial castle is situated in the heart of Fife and is perched on a steep bank overhanging the winding River Leven. Balgonie Castle passed to the Lundin or Lundie family through marriage and they were responsible for much of the castle’s expansion.
The ruins of Ballinbreich Castle can be seen almost three miles east of Newburgh on a steep bank on the southern shore overhanging the Firth of Tay. The ruins stand on private property but it was originally with the ancient Abernathy family before it passed by marriage to the Earls of Rothes. The Earls of Rothes took from it the title Baron Ballinbreich. Ballinbreich is a Celtic word which comes from of Balan-breac, meaning "town of trout". This is of course a reference to the salmon to be found in the waters there.
Denmylne Castle gets its name in a curious way. The castle stood near an old water mill on land that was granted by the king to the Balfours. Mylne in Gaelic means mill and it is known as King's Mill as the land was forfeited by the early owners, the Earls of Fife to the Crown. The ruins of the castle can be seen southeast of Newburgh in north Fife, opposite the entrance to a large quarry.
Kellie Castle is a very fine example of the domestic architecture of Lowland Scotland. It lies two miles inland, northwest, from the charming coastal villages of Pittenweem and St Monan's. The land here rises gently from the north shore of the Firth of Forth to the cairn on top of Kellie Law with dense woods to the south of the castle.
St Andrews Castle was not really a castle, but has been the main residence of the bishops and archbishops of St Andrews since the 1200s. It was the seat of power and administration of the Scottish Church and was the location for some of the turning points in the long history of Scotland. As a part of Robert Bruce’s policy the original structure was destroyed by the Scots in 1337 to avoid it being held by the English.