This blog entry features an invaluable document from the archives, which helps to pin down the construction window for Balintore Castle and the ownership timeline for the Balintore Estate. Many thanks to polymath (incorporating Glen Isla amateur local historian) Kevin Greig for sending me the scan.
The scan of the front page of "The Montrose, Arbroath & Brechin Review, AND FORFAR AND KINCARDINESHIRE ADVERTISER" dated May 11th, 1855 features an advisement, dated 3rd May 1855, for the upcoming sale of the Balintore Estate on the 29th May 1855 by public auction at the British Hotel in Dundee.
|the Royal British Hotel, Dundee|
The British Hotel building still exists in Dundee at 2-4 Castle Street, classically embellished in the late 19th century, and now sadly featuring in the Scottish Buildings at Risk Register.
The text of the advert is here:
The associated scan is here:
|newspaper scan from May 11th, 1855|
It is hard to ascertain the actual amount of land in the Balintore Estate at the point of sale. I am not quite sure what is going on but I suspect the commonties may be the old common land that in the Victorian era was often moved into private ownership. So the Estate is anywhere from 830 acres to perhaps around 3000 acres, assuming it incorporates 50% of the commonties mentioned.
The Charles Lyell (deceased, 1767–1849) mentioned in the article is the father of Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875). The latter being the famous founding father of geology and good friend of Darwin. It gets even more confusing as Sir Charles Lyell's grandfather is also called Charles Lyell.
However, let us call Charles Lyell (1767–1849) Charlie Snr. and Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875) Charlie Jnr. At the date of the sale, Charlie Jnr. had owned the Balintore Estate for 5 years, having inherited it from his father Charlie Snr.. Perhaps, the sale allowed him to pursue or fund his academic interests?
The dates suggest that David Lyon bought the Balintore Estate from Charlie Jnr. in 1855, possibly at the public auction or possibly by prior private bargain hinted at in the article. The article mentions the building of a superior house, which suggests that David Lyon was perhaps already on the scene, as this was his exact plan. The farmhouse referred to is "Balintore House" which is a large impressive building and would be suitable for most people's needs. On the other hand the Lyell's lived at Kinnordy House and at that stage Balintore House was operating as a farm house, despite having once been a castle, so an aspiring gentleman landowner might not have stooped to occupying a farmhouse?
The spelling of Balintore is notoriously fickle. It has its modern form in this 1855 article, but is Ballintore in the 1858 article.