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.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 22081 89721
322081, 689721


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




About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). 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 only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. 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 Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. 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 current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


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Printed: 21/03/2019 07:44