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(7) Plate I/a

(7) Plate I/a -

                                                       Plate I.

                                          BALGONIE CASTLE.

On the southern bank of the River Leven, which runs in an easterly direction from a Loch of the same
name, till it is lost in Largo Bay, at the mouth of the Firth of Forth, stands the Castle of Balgonie. It is
in the parish of Markinch, in Fifeshire. This castle is evidently of great antiquity, though the exact æra,
in which it was erected, is uncertain: but as a striking similarity is, in many respects, observable between
that and St. Andrew's Cathedral, it may be supposed coeval with the latter, and therefore the production
of the twelfth century. It formerly belonged to the ancient family of Sibbald, and was purchased from
them, in the reign of Charles I, by General Leslie, who was created Earl of Leven in 1641. It has ever
since continued their property, and gives a title to the earl's eldest son. Originally it was of greater extent
than at present; nor are there any remains of the old buildings, except the tower, a gateway, a wall, and
the foundations, on which the more modern part is built. The bank, on which the castle stands, is about
thirty-six feet above the river, and very commanding. The whole building is of a quadrangular form, and
stands on an area of one hundred and thirty-five feet by one hundred and five. Within the walls there is
an open court one hundred and eight feet by sixty-five. The tower is placed on the north side, and near
the north-west corner of the square. It forms a rectangle of forty-five feet by thirty-six, and is eighty feet
high. The top is surrounded with battlements, which project a foot beyond the walls, and from the broad
shadows formed by a declining sun, frequently produce the most picturesque effect. The roof, which has
often been repaired since its first erection, is raised in the centre, flat towards the battlements, and covered
with stones. The two lower stories are vaulted, and the walls are eight feet thick at the base. Within
there is a room called the chapel. The architecture of this tower is still very perfect, and the interior has
been repaired and fitted up by the present Lord Balgonie, who makes it his summer residence. Beneath
the tower are still the remains of the dungeon. Adjoining to the eastern side, and extending to the north-
east corner, along the bank of the river, is a house built by General Leslie; and at the eastern end, running
north and south, is another, erected by the present Earl's grandfather. The view, here given, is from the
opposite side of the Leven, and forms, with the tower, General Leslie's house, the river, trees, and bridge,
a most beautiful and picturesque scene.

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