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The Town Of The Bard

Balvaird Castle

The name " Balvaird " is Celtic, signifying " The town of the Bard." This means that long before the Balvaird Castle was erected the spot was the residence of the old Druidical Bard, the poet laureate of his tribe. Here, on this identical eminence, when writing was unknown, the Bard sang of the deeds of the neighbouring heroes, their prowess in battle, their loves, and their romances. Here he helped to mould the Celtic language and to develop the national sentiment.

The Ochils poet wrote a beautiful idyll about this old baronial castle:

Who is to-day the real laird,
Who was, in ages long ago,
This ancient castle's, 'clept Balvaird,
I neither know, nor care to know.
But lately--Fortune will'd it so--
A pair of lovers, newly pair'd,
As up Glenfarg they chanced to go,
By chance to that old castle fared.

How sweet the summer eve was air'd
With pink wild-roses, all a-blow,
And larches, long and waving-hair'd,
In many a ridgy terraced row
The Farg sang humbly far below;
A lark the heaven of heavens dared,--
It drew them, and they chanced to go
To that old castle of Ba'vaird.

The lady, nestling closer, shared
The cloak that round them twain did go,
And thus the castle's frown they dared,
And scaled the battlement--when lo!
Out flashed the moon with magic glow,
And on the instant they were laird
And lady, living long age,
In their strong castle of Ba'vaird !"

Situated between Gateside and Bridge of Earn within Perth and Kinross, the L-shaped tower house of Balvaird Castle sits atop an exposed ridge, overlooking Glen Farg. The Murrays of Balvaird were the forebears of the family which eventually acquired the titles of Lord Balvaird, Viscount Stormont and Earl of Mansfield. The castle underwent extensive alterations and additions in 1567 were made when the courtyard buildings were significantly added to. The Murray family left this castle in favour of Scone in 1685 and although it served as accommodation for farm workers, the sophisticated buildings had fallen into disrepair by 1845. Acquired by Historic Scotland in 1974, it has been restored to its former glory.

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