Tower of Halhill (site of)
The Tower of Halhill once stood not far from the Newton of Collessie Pictish symbol stone, but no trace of it now remains.
Robert & James Gordon’s mid-17th century map seems to show “Hallhill” further north, possibly as far north as the current farm of Halhill, as does Blaeu’s Atlas (written as Hallhil) published in 1654. However Blaeu’s map of “The East Part of Fife”, also published in 1654, doesn’t show Halhill but does show a Haukhill, this time seemingly further to the south. Unfortunately these maps aren’t accurate enough to say with any certainty where exactly Halhill was located.
John Adair’s map of “The East Part of Fife”, published in 1684, does seem to place “Hallhill” immediately to the east of Collessie church, north of Newton, north-east of Kinloch and south-west of Monimail. That is to say in the vicinity of the Pictish stone where it’s position is traditionally stated to be.
Henry Balnaves married Christian Scheves in 1539 and was granted the estate of Halhill. He was a member of James V’s Privy Council and was later appointed secretary in the infant Mary’s government of 1543. However being a Protestant he soon came into conflict with his superiors and became an agent of the English. In 1557 he was allowed to return to Scotland, and upon his death in 1570 Sir James Melville, who he had nominated as his heir, inherited the estate.
Sir James married Christian Boswell of Balmuto and they had two sons and two daughters, the younger of whom, Elizabeth, later known as Lady Culross, became Scotland’s first published woman poet in 1603 with her mini-epic “Ane Godlie Dreame”.
Following his wife’s death in 1609 Sir James built her a fine mausoleum, known as the Melville Tomb, in the kirkyard at Colessie not far from Halhill, which carries a poem thought to be the work of Elizabeth.
Sir James retired to Halhill in 1603 after declining to travel to London with James VI, and died there on the 13th of November 1617. Halhill then passed to his eldest son, also James, who died in 1664. This James was succeeded by his eldest son, another James, but in 1675 he lost the estate by adjudication and it passed to George Melville, 4th Lord Melville, becoming part of his neighbouring Melville House estate.
George, later to become the 1st Earl of Melville, demolished Halhill in the same year, possibly to improve the view from Melville House.
Alternative names for Tower of Halhill
Easter Collessie; Halhill Tower; Hallhil; Hallhill