Balfour village was built in the 1780s by Thomas Balfour that was originally named Shoreside. By 1841 there were 28 houses in the village, with 116 residents whose occupations included fishermen, shoemakers, tailors, blacksmiths, wrights, millers and a merchant. In 1846 the Castle and village were passed to David Balfour who also brought great change in Shoreside, demolishing the southern part of the village to improve the view from Balfour Castle and turning the rest into a fairly formalised estate village. And about that time, he changed the name from Shoreside to Balfour Village.
To this day, Balfour Village retains much of it’s original character, and although it no longer has all the tradespeople it once had, it is once again a thriving area of Shapinsay with many choosing the village tp bring up families, there is still a “Merchant” in the village at Thomas Sinclairs shop, which has been in the Sinclair family for 100 years.