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Fife Castles
Written and Researched by Margaret [nee Knight] Sypniewski, B.F.A.

Location of Fifeshire, Scotland:

Fife is a peninsula between the Firths of Forth and Tay.

Dunfermline was the home of the Scottish kings from the days of Malcolm III (11th century) until the Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England under James VI in 1603.

Fifeshire Castles:

Falkland Palace was a the hunting palace of the Stuart dynasty. In the 14th century the lordships of Falkland belonged to the Earls of Fife; and by 1371, it was the home of Robert Stewart, the Earl of Fife and Menteith, son of Robert II. Under the title of the Duke of Albany, he was the Regent of Scotland, and lived there for thirty-four years.

. In 1498, Alan Balfour gave this estate to his son, Duncan. At one time the tower belonged to the Bethune Family. David Balfour witnessed its charter in 1580. In 1630, Michael Balfour of Banedone succeeded his father David.

Leslie House. Bartholomew de Leslyn was an exiled Hungarian knight of the Flemish Court. He was at the court of the future Queen Margaret of Scotland, who married Malcolm III, In 1457, George Leslie of Rothes was made the first Earl of Rothes and Barony of Leslie

Balgonie Castle is a courtyard castle. The oldest part (the main tower) was built around 1360. It had five floors and each floor was another room. The tower had a parapeted roof. The castle was built by Sir Thomas Sibbald of Balgonie. His grandson was Sir Andrew, Sheriff of Fife. Helen, the daughter of Sir Andrew married Sir Robert Lundin, the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland. The Lundins kept this castle until 1627.

Balfour House. The estate was originally called Balorn and was owned by the Balfours. In 1507, the lands of Balfour passed to the Bethunes, by marriage in 1360.

Balfour was the place where Mary, Queen of Scots met Henry, Lord Darnley. The castle was destroyed in the 1960's.

Myres Castle is located south of Auchtermuchty. The Myres Castle was a gift to Robert Coxwell from James I. When Coswell died in 1453, his widow married John Scrymgeour. In 1484, John Scrymgeour was the second son of the Constable of Dundee. In 1531, his son, John Scrymgeour, Master of the King's Works had a charter from all the lands of Myres.

In 1611, Myres Castle and its property went to Stephen Parerson and his wife Elizabeth Mure. In 1628, John Paterson was heir to Myres. Today Myres Castle is a hotel.

Early Records:

The first time that "Fife" occurs in writing is in the verses ascribed to St Columba:

He mentions the Seven children of Cruthne and it has been interpreted that this refers to the seven provinces of a divided Alban (Scotland):

  1. Cait
  2. Ce
  3. Cirig, a warlike clan,
  4. Fib, "the forest,"(early name of Fife)was from the language of South Jutland. It is pronounced the same as Fife.
  5. Fidach
  6. Fotla (from Athfodla or Athole)
  7. Fortren

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