Ballone Castle

Ballone Castle is a large late 16th century Z-plan tower house. It consists of a main block of three storeys and a garret, and a round tower and square stair-tower projecting from opposite corners. There are two ruined stair turrets. Corelled-out bartizans crown the corners, and have shot-holes and stone roofs. A courtyard enclosed ranges of buildings, including a bakehouse.


The arched entrance, at the foot of one stair-tower leads to the main turnpike stair, which climbs only to the first floor. The upper floors are reached by the turret stairs. In the square tower is a guardroom and small adjoining vaulted prisons. The main block basement is vaulted and contains the kitchen, which had an arched fireplace; and wine cellar, with a small stair up to the hall above. The hall on the first floor had a private chamber off the main block.


The lands were a property of the Earl of Ross, but passed to the Dunbars of Tarbat in 1507, then to the Mackenzies in 1623, who were made Earls of Cromartie in 1703 and changed the name to Castlehaven. It was abandoned in favour of Tarbat House, a three storey classical mansion, in the late 17th century, and wa ruined by 1680. Although long unroofed, the castle has been restored.




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