15th century tower with 16th, 17th and 18th century additions; reconstructed 1974-84, The Appleton Partnership. Irregular U-plan house with tower to N and enclosing walls. Dry-dashed coursed rubble with stone and concrete (1974-84) dressings. Cavetto cornice with corbel table and later crenellated parapet to tower; pointed- and segmental-headed openings; pedimented windows; crowsteps; roll-moulded margins to W. Vaulted ground floor.
TOWER: 3-stage tower and modern caphouse; engaged to W. S elevation with window to centre at 1st stage, pedimented window above with panel inscribed 'Fear God, honour the King', and pointed-arch former door in bay to right; further pedimented window at 3rd stage. Crowstepped caphouse set-back behind crenellated parapet. E elevation with door to centre at ground and later (1797) door to left at 1st floor with small balcony, blocked opening to centre above and small window to outer right at 3rd stage. Finialled and pedimented windows to 2nd and 3rd stages of N elevation, that to 2nd inscribed 'DB' and dated '1680', that to 3rd with monogrammed initials 'DB' and MP' (see Notes).
E (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: crowstepped gable to left with window at 1st floor and tall stack breaking eaves to outer right; return to left with 2 windows to ground and further window to approximate centre at 1st floor; small, rounded, conical-roofed, roll-moulded doorway in re-entrant angle and 3-storey, recessed face to right with 3 small stair windows and slightly larger window to outer left at 2nd floor. Tower (see above) projecting to right.
S (GARDEN) ELEVATION: 5-bay elevation with window to each floor of 3-storey narrow crowstepped gable to outer left; 2-storey bays to right with 4 windows to each floor, those to ground irregular.
W ELEVATION: 3-storey elevation facing walled garden; ground floor with large modern conservatory obscured by garden wall, 5 windows to each floor above, that to penultimate bay to right of 2nd floor corbelled.
N ELEVATION: tower (see above).
Small-pane glazing patterns throughout, in timber sash and case and fixed windows. Grey slates. Coped dry-dashed stacks with cans; ashlar-coped skews.
INTERIOR: vaulted ground floor hall with large segmental fireplace at W. 1st floor hall with huge roll-moulded fireplace at N wall's E end. Coombed wooden ceiling and W screens gallery 1974-84.
BOUNDARY, GARDEN AND TERRACE WALLS AND GATEPIERS: coped rubble garden walls with mid 19th century medallions bearing high relief portraits; boundary walls with small crowstepped gatehouse (modern?). Buttressed terrace wall to S. Square section ashlar gatepiers with oversized pineapple finials.
Statement of Special Interest
Reid refers to the Tower as Balmuto House, and Macgibbon and Ross describe it as a 'square tower of considerable antiquity incorporated in a modern mansion-house'. The present (1999) building was acquired and restored from a roofless state by Mr Harry Arthur Boswell of Baltimore, USA, partly for educational purposes. The Boswell family came to Britain with William the Conqueror and Sir John Boswell acquired the Barony of Balmuto toward the end of the 14th century through marriage with Mariota, daughter of Sir John Glen of Glenniston. The N window pediments commemorate David Boswell and his wife Margaret Paterson of Dunmuir, and much of the 17th century work was probably done about this time. Certainly the 1st and 2nd stage windows were enlarged and pedimented, and at this time the 2 upper floors had timbered ceilings supported on corbels. The 1st stage entrance, having been widened in the 16th century, was blocked in the 17th century. The house was occupied until 1896 when the heir, Claud Patrick, and his sister Ella moved to a house on the Home Farm. In 1951 Ella sold Balmuto to Lord Montrose whose stepson demolished some parts including the 16th century wing where Mary Queen of Scots celebrated mass with Sir David Boswell. Harry Boswell's daughter, Rebecca, was married at Kinghorn Parish Church in August 1976, and the reception held at Balmuto. Balmuto House is famous as the place where Sir Alexander Boswell, bart of Auchinleck died on 27th March, 1811 from a wound received the day before at a duel which took place near Auchtertool with James Stuart of Dunearn, Burntisland. Gifford suggests West Balbardie Lodge (listed separately) as the former East Lodge for Balmuto Tower