Located to the north-west of the village of Auchtertool, the Palace of Halyards (or Hallyards Castle) is reputed to have been a hunting seat of Malcolm Canmore. With the establishment of the Roman Church, Halyards became the local residence of the Bishops of Dunkeld; it remained so until the first lay proprietor took possession in 1539. The influence that Halyards had on the district cannot be overstated. When Sir James Kirkcaldy was proprietor the palace witnessed dramatic events; according to John Knox it was visited by James V just before his death, and the murder of Cardinal Beaton was possibly discussed within its walls. During the Reformation Crisis there was fighting between French troops and the Scottish Lords of the Congregation at Halyards. William Kirkcaldy fought for the reformers.
According to Knox, after French troops blew up the house, Mary of Guise declared, "Where is now John Knox's God? My God is now stronger than his, yea, even in Fife." In February 1560 it was reported the palace was 'clean overthrown.' Kirkcaldy took his revenge on a Savoyard captain called Sebastian and his 50 French troops.
In later years Halyards was home to other lairds, such as William Forbes of Craigievar and the members of the Skene family. When the Earls of Moray became lairds the palace’s name was changed to “Camilla”, perhaps in honour of the countess who bore that name. This was the beginning of a name which is well known in Auchtertool today; the only unfortunate side effect is that the original name “Halyards” is not so well known. With the Earls of Moray living at a distance, the Palace of Halyards eventually fell into disuse. In 1819 the palace was revisited by a member of the Skene family, who found it in a dilapidated state. Unfortunately the great house was largely demolished in 1847. The remains can still be found on neighbouring farmland to the north-west of the village.
- Knox, John, "from History of the Reformation, book 2,".
- Knox, John, History of the Reformation, book 3, various editions e.g., Lennox, Cuthbert, ed., (1905), 187
- Bain, Joseph, ed., Calendar of State Papers Scotland, vol. 1 (1898), 310, Randolph to Sadler & Croft.
- Maxwell, John, Historical memoirs of the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, Abbotsford Club, (1836), 47