Balvenie Castle

Tom Gomez

Joined January 2008

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Artist's Description

Balvenie Castle lies a mile north of Dufftown, Keith, Banffshire, Scotland, close to the Glenfiddich Distillery.

It dates to the 1200s when Marjory, daughter of Fergus, the last Celtic Earl of Buchan, married William Comyn, one of the new breed of Scottish noblemen. He became the new earl and also Lord of Balvenie. It was either William or his son, Alexander, who built this castle in Glen Fiddich.

The Comyns fell foul of Robert the Bruce’s regal ambitions and until the early 1400s the fate of Balvenie is unclear. It then re-emerged in the hands of the Black Douglases, a formidable baronial family. But they too were wiped out, by King James II in 1455. He in turn gave Balvenie to one of his own kinsmen. Such were the risks and rewards of power politics in medieval Scotland.

From its strategically significant position in the Glen, Balvenie Castle allowed the immensely powerful Comyn earls to rule over this Celtic province for more than a century. Though there were no famous sieges or notable battles here, this would have appeared a striking fortification to anyone approaching it for the first time: as it still is today.

Related shots can be found at: Castles and Highland scotland.

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