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Leslie Castles


Over the centuries, the Leslies have inhabited many beautiful castles and homes. This section highlights some of the most important ones.

Leslie Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

This castle exists upon the very land first granted to our Leslie progenitor, Bartholomew (from whom all Scottish Leslies descend), granted to him by King Malcolm, III soon after his arrival in Scotland in 1067. The original castle built by Bartholomew would most likely have been of wood, a motte and bailey type of castle, popular at the time. At some point, a stone castle was erected which was then refurbished by the Forbes family in about 1661.


It fell into ruin, and was later beautifully restored to its former
glory by David Leslie and his wife, Leslie Leslie, said restorations
being completed in 1989. While it was enjoyed by many as a hotel for a time, it is now in private hands and not available for tours. The castle is an L-plan tower, with many defensive features, and a very unique staircase in the square tower which cleverly provided light upon the treads, by way of lamps lowered into a central column which shone thru various openings upon the stairway. The lamps were attached to a chain, which was raised and lowered much like a bucket in a well.


Wardhill Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

It began as a small home/castle which was first acquired by William Leslie, 1st Laird of Warthill, when he married Janet Cruickshank in 1518. It was added upon significantly, twice, with the latest addition subsequently being reduced somewhat, until we are left with the magnificent turreted structure now in place. A portion of the home is available as a bed and breakfast facility, under the charming care and delectable cooking of Candida Leslie, wife of Sebastian Leslie, 14th Laird of Warthill. The home is quite massive, with only a section of itavailable for viewing by guests.



Leslie House, Fife, Scotland

This once magnificent structure, said to have been styled upon Holyrood Palace, was built in about 1670 by John, 7th Earl of Rothes, who was also made the Duke of Rothes by King Charles II. This imposing edifice suffered a terrible fire on Christmas day in 1763, and three of the wings were damaged beyond repair. Only the western portion of the mansion was restored and remained the home of various Earls of Rothes, the Dukedom having died with our one and only Duke of Rothes. In 1919, the home was sold to the Church of Scotland, and became a home for the elderly. It was sold yet again and was being remodeled to become "17 luxury homes" when it yet again burned in a devastating fire in 2009, and sits to this day in ruins, behind chain link fences, its future unknown.

Rothes Castle, Rothes, Morayshire, Scotland

In the early 12th century a castle was built on this location, starting as a small structure, which was slowly enlarged into a full blown surrounded enclosure with towers, a moat, and draw bridge. The barony became a Leslie possession around the year 1390 when a Balquhain Leslie married an heiress. A descendant of that couple, George (Leslie), became the 1st Earl of Rothes sometime before 1457. The castle was still 'habitable' in about 1620, and may have been damaged or even destroyed by the Marquis of Montrose during the Covenanting wars during that same century. The castle and estate was sold in 1711. Shown here is an artist's conception of what the castle would have looked like during it's prime, and the photograph below is the lonely section of wall that remains today. 

Fetternear Palace, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Fetternear Palace, Aberdeenshire, Scotland: a residence of some sort was already in place when it was subsequently rebuilt in 1256, and later extended and used as a summer palace in 1329. William Wallace is said to have stayed at Fetternear in 1297. In 1550, William Gordon, Bishop of Aberdeen granteda lease of Fetternear to John Leslie, 8th Baron of Balquhain. In 1566 the same Bishop Wallace gifted the barony of Fetternear, including Fetternear Palace, upon William Leslie, 9th Baron of Balquhain, as a reward for the Baron's assistance in protecting St. Machar's cathedral from being ravaged by the Reformers. This was later confirmed in a charter dated 1602. The structure was significantly increased by Count Patrick Leslie in 1690 -1693. This became the primary home of the Balquhain branch of Leslies, who abandoned Balquhain Castle for the apparently more luxurious accommodations at Fetternear. In 1919 a terrible fire laid waste to the home, and many, many Leslie paintings and grand possessions were lost in the fire. All that remains are magnificent ruins, with Leslie arms still visible in places.


An organization known as the The Fetternear Trust Ltd is studying and preserving history associated with Fetternear, aka the Bishop's Palace. The older picture was obtained from them and used with permission. In addition to a lot of information online, they have a fascinating, downloadable booklet full of information about Fetternear on their site, which can be found here:

Balgonie Castel, Fife, Scotland

The lands of Balgonie were held by the Sibbalds from at least 1246. Probably in the 1360s, the Sibbalds built a barmkin, or fortified courtyard, with a tower house at the north-west corner. The lands and the castle were left to a daughter, who married Sir Robert Lundie, who extended the castle in 1496, following his appointment as Lord High Treasurer of Scotland. Sir Robert built a two-storey range of buildings to the east of the keep, enlarging the accommodation with a long hall and a solar. This range incorporated an earlier corner tower and the 14th-century chapel. King James IV visited Balgonie on 20 August 1496, and gave 18 shillings to the masons as a gift.


The west elevation of the tower house or keep In 1627 the castle was sold to the Boswells, who sold it on in 1635 to Sir Alexander Leslie, a Scottish soldier who had fought for the Swedish army during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), rising to the rank of Field Marshal, and who led the Covenanters during the Scottish Bishops Wars. Leslie was created Lord Balgonie and Earl of Leven in 1641, and finally retired in 1654. He carried out further improvement of his home, adding a two-storey building at the south-east corner of the courtyard.

(Wikipedia. Full article here..)
Visit the Balgonie Castle webiste by clicking here.

Ballinbreich Castle, Fife, Scotland

In the 14th century Ballinbreich Castle was built just a small keep on the south wall of a large oblong courtyard. Alterations and additions were made in the 15th century and 16th century. It was finally a three-storey L-plan castle with a rectangular courtyard enclosed by curtain wall. There were buildings on the three sides while there was a curtain wall on the fourth. The entire structure was surrounded by a moat and stood in the midst of a small plantation of trees. On the second floor of the castle one can see the remains of a chapel with certain structures like the seating for the clergy during mass and the water basin on the wall. The castle had been mined for decades and as a result one of the inner walls collapsed. It was then that the amazing 14th century masonry work was revealed, whose workmanship is considered unrivalled in Scotland.

( Visit page here.)

Castle Leslie, Ireland

Castle Leslie Estate, home to an Irish branch of Clan Leslie and located on the 4 km², Castle Leslie is both the name of a historic Country House and 1,000-acre Estate adjacent to the village of Glaslough, 11 km (7 mi) north-east of Monaghan town in County Monaghan, Ireland.


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