Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.

Balfour Mains Farmhouse incorporating remains of Balfour Castle, Balfour Mains, KingoldrumLB11416

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NO 33764 54611
333764, 754611


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 Special 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'.



Canmore: CANMORE ID 32359


Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1862, published 1865) Forfar Sheet XXXI.10 (Kingoldrum). 25 inch to the mile, 1st Edition. Southamption: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1900, published 1902) Forfarshire, Sheet 031.10. 25 inch to the mile, 2nd Edition. Southamption: Ordnance Survey.

Printed Sources

Gifford, J. (2012) The Buildings of Scotland: Dundee and Angus. Yale University Press: London. p.578.

Jervise, A. (1861) Memorials of Angus and the Mearns. Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black p.18-19.

MacGibbon D. and Ross, T (1887-92) The Castellated and Domestic Architecture Of Scotland From The Twelfth To The Eighteenth Centuries. Vol. 3 Edinburgh : David Douglas. pp. 337-8.

New Statistical Account (1842) Kingoldrum, County of Forfar. Vol.11. p.615.

Old Statistical Account (1791-99). Kingoldrum, County of Forfar. Vol.9. p.134.

Tranter, N (1962-70) The Fortified House in Scotland. Vol.4. Aberdeenshire, Angus & Kincardineshire. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd. pp.98-9.

Warden, A. J. (1880-5) Angus or Forfarshire: the land and people, descriptive and historical. Vol 4. Dundee. pp: 34-5.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

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Balfour Mains Farmhouse, incorporating Balfour Castle, looking northeast, during daytime, with blue sky and clouds


Map of Balfour Mains Farmhouse Incorporating Remains Of Balfour Castle, Balfour Mains, Kingoldrum

Printed: 29/05/2020 02:15