History in Structure

Balfour Mains Farmhouse incorporating Balfour Castle, Balfour Mains, Kingoldrum

A Category B Listed Building in Kirriemuir and Dean, Angus

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Latitude: 56.6785 / 56°40'42"N

Longitude: -3.0826 / 3°4'57"W

OS Eastings: 333764

OS Northings: 754611

OS Grid: NO337546

Mapcode National: GBR VG.S7X2

Mapcode Global: WH6P5.MD9H

Plus Code: 9C8RMWH8+CW

Entry Name: Balfour Mains Farmhouse incorporating Balfour Castle, Balfour Mains, Kingoldrum

Listing Name: Balfour Mains Farmhouse incorporating remains of Balfour Castle, Balfour Mains, Kingoldrum

Listing Date: 11 June 1971

Last Amended: 11 August 2016

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 406337

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB11416

Building Class: Cultural

Also known as: Balfour Castle

ID on this website: 200406337

Location: Kingoldrum

County: Angus

Electoral Ward: Kirriemuir and Dean

Parish: Kingoldrum

Traditional County: Angus

Tagged with: Castle

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A circa 1840 farmhouse with late 19th century additions to the rear and incorporating a fragment of an early 16th century castle to the south corner. The farmhouse is 3-storey with the upper floor breaking the eaves, 3-bay, symmetrical principal (southwest) elevation with a 2-storey wing to the rear to form an L-plan. There are single storey additions at the re-entrant angle. It is built with tooled red sandstone rubble and roughly squared quoins and has ashlar window margins. There are gablet dormerheads with a finial at the apex. There is a circa 1999, single storey, piended roof porch at the centre of the southwest elevation.

The windows are predominantly 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case timber frames. The farmhouse has a pitched roof with grey slates and chimney stacks at the gables, with that to the south gable heightened in brick and that to the north gable replaced in brick. There are coped, sandstone ridge chimney stacks to the rear addition.

The interior was partially seen in 2013 and consists of rooms flanking a central dog-leg staircase with a decorative cast iron balustrade. There are some window shutters and some panelled timber doors.

The fragment of Balfour Castle is an approximately 17m tall, tapering round tower with a later monopitch slate roof. It is rubble with dressed stone to a variety of openings including arrow slits and there are string courses stepped over the openings. There are oval gunloops at the base and a later entrance to a vaulted basement. There is a fragment of a return wall to the northeast side.

Statement of Interest

Balfour farmhouse is a rare example of 3-storey farmhouse which unusually incorporates a substantial and well-preserved fragment of an early 16th-century castle, and the result is a striking and highly unusual design for a farmhouse. The stonework detailing of the farmhouse is also of good quality to match the stonework of the earlier tower and a good deal of 19th-century detailing to the interior also remains. It is a significant feature in the undulating agricultural landscape of rural Angus.

Age and Rarity

Balfour Mains farmhouse is described in the New Statistical Account, written in 1842, as a "lately" building. The farmhouse is depicted on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1862) as an L-plan structure attached to the round tower. The current footprint of the building is largely as that shown on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1900), which shows an earlier porch to the southwest elevation and the single storey additions to the rear. The stonework detailing and the roof arrangement of the later 19th-century additions to the rear indicate that they were constructed at different times.

The New Statistical Account also states that the farmhouse was built from the remains of Balfour Castle, which was once the seat of the Ogilvies, a branch of the Airlie family. The only upstanding part of this early 16th-century castle is a tower about 17m tall, which has been incorporated into the south corner of the farmhouse. This tower probably stood at the southwest corner of the castle's courtyard, its vaulted basement being accessed down steps from the courtyard. The present entrance to the basement is a later insertion. The tower's monopitch roof is depicted in a drawing by MacGibbon et al, who described the roof as "old, but undoubtedly not the original one" (1887-91, p337).

Balfour Mains Farmhouse is not an early example of a post-improvement farmhouse however, it is remarkable because it incorporates a 16th castle tower into its plan and the result is a striking and highly unusual design for a farmhouse. The stonework detailing is also of good quality to match the stonework of the earlier tower. A good deal of 19th-century detailing to the interior also remains.

The tower is of interest in its own right as a rare and well-preserved fragment of a late medieval castle, representing tangible evidence of the site's early origins.

Balfour Mains Farmhouse and Castle has particular interest as a very rare example of a 19th century farmhouse built onto the side of a 16th-century tower. This highly unusual approach has resulted in a structure with a development sequence spanning at least 450 years, combining two diverse architectural forms.

Architectural or Historic Interest


Although some traditional detailing is evident in the farmhouse interior, such as the stair balustrade, such detailing is typical for a building from the mid 19th-century.

Plan form

The footprint of the building is largely unaltered to that shown on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1900). In the farmhouse, the internal arrangement of rooms flanking a central staircase is not unusual for a building of this date and type and some subdivision has occurred. However, the incorporation of an earlier tower is extremely unusual.

Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality

The farmhouse has some good stonework detailing, in particular the gablet dormerheads with finials and the squared and tooled quoins. This detailing is of a higher quality than standard farmhouses of this period which are typically 2-storey and harled rubble in construction. The stone is understood to have been salvaged from the ruinous castle which adds to the building's interest.


The farmhouse and tower has significant presence in the landscape because of its scale. The setting of the building has not changed significantly from that shown on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1900). The farmhouse retains garden ground to the southwest and a collection of farm buildings to the east, however these have been altered and extended. This setting adds to the interest of the farmhouse, which remains part of a coherent and readable agricultural complex. Balfour Mains is within the rural parish of Kingoldrum, an undulating landscape with farmland surrounding the village Kirkton of Kingoldrum.

Regional variations

Angus is predominantly a farming region and its rural landscape is characterised by agricultural holdings. 18th and 19th century farm buildings are a typical building type for the area. Not including Balfour Mains farmhouse, there are two purpose built farmhouses in the parish which are listed: Meikle Kenny Farmhouse (LB11420) and Barnton Farmhouse (LB11421).

The use of red sandstone in the construction of the farmhouse is also characteristic of Angus.

Close Historical Associations

There are no known associations with a person or event of national importance at present (2016).

Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2016. Previously listed as 'Balfour Castle, Incorporating Mains Farm House'.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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