Clan Leslie Society
Australia & New Zealand

(CLANZ)




Ballinbreich Castle, Fife - The Barony of Ballinbreich is in Fife and the first records show that in 1160 the land originally belonged to Orm, son of Hugh of Abernethy. Orm's son Lawrence assumed the name of the lands of Abernethy as his family name about 1200. The name of Abernethy is derived from "Aber" meaning ford and "Nethy" being the name of the river on which the town is situated. When Sir Andrew de Abernethy died in 1312, the estate was divided between his two daughters, Margaret and Mary. Mary's inheritance included the lands and Barony's of Cairney in Forfar and Ballinbreich in Fife. The importance to the Leslie's of the marriage is shown in the fact that Sir Andrew Leslie, 6th Dominus Ejusdem quartered his arms with those of Abernethy.

The Red Lion of Abernethy with a Riband sable through them, indicating that the arms of Abernethy are of equal importance as the arms of Leslie. The quartered arms of Abernethy and Leslie continue to this day through the Leslie family of Rothes. The battle cry of Clan Leslie is "Ballinbreich" and in some cases is pronounced Bam-bre-ich. In the Charter of the 7th Earl of Rothes and the Duke of Rothes he was created Maquis of Bambreich.

It must have been a magnificent sight in its day, three to four storeys high and the Great Hall 46 feet long and 17 feet wide. Sadly, the Barony of Ballinbreich was sold by John 10th Earl of Rothes, to Sir Lawrence Dundas, ancestor of the Earls of Zetland for just £20,000 and then Sir Lawrence Dundas cut down the trees in the Barony of Ballinbreich and sold them for £20,000. The Barony of Ballinbreich was sold to finance the rebuilding of Leslie House in Fife, which was burnt to the ground on Monday Christmas Day 1763. This was a terrible loss for all of Clan Leslie, as so many historic documents and artefacts were lost, but it was made even worse by the loss of the Barony Ballinbreich, which possibly could have been avoided.

The ruins of Ballinbreich Castle are situated on the north shore of Fife, approximately three miles east of Newburgh on the southern shore of the Firth of Tay. The ruins can be seen from the road, but if you wish a closer look, you will need to get the permission of the farmer, as they are on private property.