Balbirnie House

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Balbirnie House
Balbirnie House.jpg
Balbirnie House
Location Glenrothes, Fife, Scotland
Coordinates 56°12′34″N 3°08′45″W / 56.2094°N 3.1457°W / 56.2094; -3.1457Coordinates: 56°12′34″N 3°08′45″W / 56.2094°N 3.1457°W / 56.2094; -3.1457
Built 1817
Built for General Robert Balfour of Balbirnie
Architect Richard Crichton
Architectural style(s) Greek Revival
Listed Building – Category A
Designated 24 November 1972
Reference no. 16687
Criteria Work of Art
Designated 1987
Balbirnie House is located in Fife
Balbirnie House
Location of Balbirnie House in Fife

Balbirnie House is an early 19th-century country house in Glenrothes, in central Fife, Scotland. The present house was completed in 1817 as a rebuild of an 18th-century building, itself a replacement for a 17th-century dwelling. The home of the Balfour family from 1640, the house was sold in 1969 and opened as a hotel in 1990. The grounds now comprise a large public park and a golf course. The house is protected as a category A listed building,[1] while the grounds are included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland.[2]


Around 1640, the Balbirnie estate was acquired by the family of Balfour. A 17th-century house on the estate was remodelled or replaced in the later 18th century for John Balfour. The architecture of these works, completed around 1782, has been attributed to both James Nisbet and to John Baxter Jr.[1] In 1815 further changes were begun by General Robert Balfour, to designs by the architect Richard Crichton assisted by his then apprentices, R & R Dickson[3]. Some £16,000 was spent on extending the south-west front, and constructing the portico at the south-east. At the same time, landscape gardener Thomas White provided plans for the improvement of the 18th-century parkland. Meanwhile, General Balfour's two brothers were developing new houses at Whittingehame in East Lothian and Newton Don in the Borders, funded by the same large inheritance.[4] Further alterations, comprising offices, were carried out in 1860, possibly designed by David Bryce.[1] The plant collection was expanded from the mid-19th century with seeds sent from India by George balfour, a friend of plant collector William Hooker.[4]

In 1969 the house and estate was acquired by the Glenrothes Development Corporation, who were then building the new town of Glenrothes. A golf course was laid out in the grounds, while the house was converted into council offices.[4] The house was sold on to a private owner who redeveloped it as a 30-bedroom hotel, opened in 1990 by Malcolm Rifkind who was then Secretary of State for Scotland.[1] 416 acres (168 ha) of parkland and woodland remain in the ownership of Fife Council as a public park.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d "Balbirnie House: Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  2. ^ "Balbirnie". An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland. Historic Scotland. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Dickson
  4. ^ a b c "Balbirnie: Site history". An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland. Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  5. ^ "Balbirnie Park". Fife Council. Retrieved 2011-04-08. 

External links[edit]