Denmylne Castle -King’s Mill

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.

Denmylne Castle was built by the Balfours in 1560 on land was granted to them to build a Hall. This was on the site of an early fortress of the Earls of Fife. The cross shaped tower had two rooms to each floor and was inhabited until the 18th century. Today it is privately owned and in a poor state of repair with a tree growing in the middle. The remains of the water mill which gave the castle its name are seen about 30 yards away.

The Balfours, a noble and illustrious family, held the castle and surrounding lands for over two hundred years. Sir James Balfour was Lord Lyon King at Arms to Charles I and Charles II but is remembered chiefly for his great collection of old charters and deeds which was housed in chests and left in the castle even after it was abandoned. Dr. Laing narrates how he once received shoes from the shoemaker in Newburgh that were wrapped in old manuscripts from Sir James’ collection. The remains of the records were ultimately rescued and safely lodged in Edinburgh.

Sir James died when he was fifty two, leaving as his heir Sir Robert, then only six years old, who died at twenty two years as the result of a duel. Denmylne Castle went to Sir Robert’s uncle, the Minister of Abdie who died a year later. His son Michael was the last in the line, and he mysteriously disappeared in 1709. The castle and estate were abandoned in 1772, when the estate was sold to Major Gen. John Scott of Balcomie. Unfortunately, by 1840 it was a complete ruin.

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